Film Review: Never Forever
EmptyArts Alliance America
Like "Down to the Bone," the film that first brought actress Vera Farmiga significant attention, "Never Forever" features a superb turn by this talented actress that is destined to be generally unseen. Giving the sort of performance that will be described as "fearless," Farmiga elevates the material of this melodramatic soaper into something nearly profound.
Not that there aren't other qualities in this film written and directed by Gina Kim ("Gina Kim's Video Diary"), including powerful work by rising Korean actors Ha Jung-Woo ("Time") and David McInnis ("Typhoon") and elegant, deeply atmospheric cinematography by Mathew Clark.
Farmiga stars as Sophie, a well-heeled Manhattan housewife married to Andrew (McInnis), a successful Asian-American lawyer. The couple's failure to conceive because of Andrew's infertility leaves him so depressed that he attempts suicide, with Sophie despairing that her marriage is in danger of falling apart.
While visiting a fertility clinic, she spots Jihah (Jung-Woo), whose attempt at becoming a sperm donor is denied because of his lack of American citizenship. She follows him out and proposes a private arrangement: She will pay him $300 per session of anonymous sex and a substantial bonus if she winds up getting pregnant.
They soon begin a series of initially joyless, businesslike liaisons in Jihah's dilapidated tenement apartment, but by the time Sophie becomes impregnated, they discover, to their dismay, that they have fallen in love.
While the scenario strains credibility, the filmmaker's sensitive handling of the subject matter and the beautifully nuanced work by the actors give the film an unexpected emotional power. Particularly striking are the many graphic sequences depicting the gradual physical transformation of the couple's lovemaking as their feelings overtake them. And Farmiga's devastating emotionally and physically revealing performance fairly demands to be seen.