Wednesday, June 26, 2013
"Molly's Theory of Relativity": a stage play in a NYC apartment, just a bit adult
The title “Molly’s Theory of Relativity” reminds me of the name “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” (1997), and the subject matter – involving a young female professional with social skills issues and probable Asperger’s, reminds me of “Adam” (Aug. 9, 2009). Molly (Sophia Takal) is an astronomer who has gotten canned from a job partly because of lack of social judgment. But she has had a satisfying relationship with active husband Zak (Lawrence Michael Levine) for several years, as neither has as problem with his underemployment (a courtesy van driver and fast food worker). At least he can work "in a real job".
The film is essentially like a stage play, set in the couple’s Queens apartment. On Halloween, Zak has a confrontation with his father (Birney) for making him an executor in his will and not being in a position to leave him enough money. Why would Zak have a right to depend on his parents and his wife?
The early part of the film has a lot of explicit sex between husband and wife, right out of the Sing of Solomon. Conservatives might rejoice in this as supporting marriage. The camera angles play on the physical attributes of both Molly and Zak, playing games even with details like body hair (starting with legs). For a whil,e it seems as though the film (officially not rated) will become an example of what an NC-17 film ought to be, a meditation on intimacy for adults.
A variety of other characters come to the Halloween party, family members, and maybe some of them are deceased or imaginary. There is a little girl playing Einstein, to whom Molly will speak about the advantages of being female after all. Men want us, men need us. Well, maybe not always.
Molly imagines she might get a job in Princeton, but contemplates making a risky move, to go to Norway with Zak on an adventure. The opening credits (after the prologue) show the couple in Norway in a reduced aspect ratio (the film itself is a conventional 1.85:1), but he fjord and mountain scenery is quite compelling, compared to the apartment, which constricts the movie as a set piece.
Molly talks about her astrophysics only occasionally, as when she describes a strange binary star system a few hundred light years away. More astronomy or physics could have been interesting.
The official site is here.
I saw this at Angelika Mosaic in Merrifield VA last night, and the showing seemed to be just for me. It’s pretty silly to have assigned seating under such circumstances.