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Starring Julia Blake, Charles Tingwell and Terry Norris
Written and Directed by Paul Cox
no website

IN SHORT: Major chick flick. Mid-life crisis required. [Not Rated. 94 minutes]

We'll do this part quickly: once the teenlet audience gets wind that Innocence is about pushing-Seventies retirees finding new love and, gasp, having sex, they'll run for the cineplex theater next door. So we'll address the older audience, which is the market here.

We mean it when we make that crack about mid-life crisis required, since we're pushing that age ourselves, straight, single and childless. Innocence allows two people to revisit the very first heavy duty romantic entanglement of their lives, with all the nostalgia of rose-colored memories contrasted with the reality of their "death is approaching" lives. If you've got a discarded first romance that you wish you could go back and "do over", Innocence will speak to you. More than likely, as with the characters, it's a story of wondering what would have happened if that first love had full played out.

It is Andreas Borg (Charles Tingwell) who makes contact with Claire (Julia Blake), forty years later. He writes to her, saying he's just learned that she lives in a nearby town -- their affair took place in Belgium, we have no idea where they are now, though the Australian origins and accents point Down Under -- and he wishes to know if they could meet, just to recall old times. She says "no," but her husband John (Terry Norris), is a bit of a prune, so Claire takes the train for a quick day of reminiscence.

John, we should point out, is firmly locked in that "life is over" phase. His marriage is comfortable, though he hasn't touched the wife in twenty years. His son is a prosperous doctor. It's been a good run. Claire, on the other hand, is sorely in need of attention.

Her day in the sun is fun, but Claire demurely refuses any other meetings until Andreas begs for support on the day his wife's gravesite is to be moved. Emotionally drained, Andreas asks that she stay the night. She does.

What comes next? We'll point out that Andreas' wife had died thirty years earlier, so he has had a lot of time to obsess about Claire. His daughter is enthusiastic about dad's discovery of a "new" woman. And when John asks his doctor son to look at mom -- her revelation of her one night with Andreas has John thinking that Claire is losing her mind -- the reality of her unhappiness comes crashing down.

We remind you that an unhappy ending can make you cry as much as a happy one. Innocence is a classic cry your eyes out setup. Not for us. But in about five years, if we're still single . . . well, it's not a pretty sight to see a repentant man cry. So we won't watch Innocence again, 'cuz we don't want to be a not pretty sight. It's an effective piece of work from writer/director Paul Cox. Blake and Tingwell are absolutely believable when you think how long it's been while their love has cooled -- helps that the pair are married in real life, we guess. Terry Norris' work as the clueless hubby whose anger drives him to re-romance his wife is harder to believe, but his reactions are believable and support the main story.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Innocence, he would have paid . . .


pay per view level. If you're of the target, get it while you're alone. Buy a box of Kleenex, too.

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