Movie review: Certified Copy

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami must've thought "Before Sunrise" was too accessible and mainstream.

Much like Richard Linklater's 1995 indie masterpiece, Kiarostami's latest film, "Certified Copy," tells the story of two strangers meeting and the one day they spend together.

Or at least, that's how "Certified Copy" begins.

British author James Miller (William Shimell) is in Tuscany promoting a book and decides to spend his last afternoon with French transplant Elle (an excellent Juliette Binoche).

But what begins as an outing between strangers becomes something different when a waitress mistakes them for a couple and Elle crafts an elaborate story of their lengthy and somewhat unhappy marriage.

Are they strangers? Or are they, as the second half of the film suggests, actually a couple? The movie never seems interested in providing an answer. Instead, Kiarostami relies on with odd angles, awkward close-ups and scenes that linger on the couple.

It all seems designed to play with our perception. The audience is free to interpret the events, much like James and Elle have opposing critiques on a local sculpture.

Those looking for a more traditional narrative should stick with Linklater's film. "Certified Copy" takes the same concept to a different level, and the film is more interesting for it.

Certified Copy

Opens Friday at the Drexel

3.5 stars out of 4