Love in the Time of Pandemic: “Perfect Sense” (2011) starring Ewan McGregor & Eva Green

Without love, there is nothing. -A tagline for the movie

A mysterious epidemic appears across the world where people suddenly lose one of their senses. At first, it’s the loss of smell, which comes after a destructive temper tantrum. Epidemiologist Susan (Eva Green- who is French) and chef Michael (Ewan McGregor) begin a romantic relationship; her apt is opposite from the restaurant where he works. Soon, the loss of other senses plagues more… and more people; the civil authorities try to maintain order. Is love possible in such a time/situation?

Susan: [narratingthe 1st lines] There was darkness. There is light. There are men and women. There’s food. There are restaurants. Disease. There’s work. Traffic. The days as we know them, the world as we imagine the world.

This indie film reteams director David Mackenzie w/ his Young Adam (2003) star/fellow Scotsman- McGregor. The screenplay was written by a Danish man- Kim Fupz Aakeson; originally this story was set in Denmark. Connie Nielson (also Danish) plays Susan’s bestie- Jenny. To research her role, Green spent several days hanging out in labs in Glasgow w/ biologists and epidemiologists. Susan’s older co-worker Stephen is played by Stephen Dillane (British); he is best known for Game of Thrones. Michael’s boss/the restaurant owner is played by Denis Lawson (McGregor’s uncle); this was their 1st time working together. They both appeared in the Star Wars franchise; Lawson played Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy; McGregor played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy and recent Disney+ series. Ewen Bremner (James- the sous chef) and McGregor were both in the two Trainspotting films; I need to watch those sometime. Alistair McKenzie (from Monarch of the Glen) plays Susan’s virologist co-worker; I recall watching the early seasons of that TV show on PBS.

Susan: Aren’t you going to ask why I haven’t been to work?

Stephen: Well, you’ve been sick.

Susan: Not sick, just unhappy.

Stephen: It’s the same thing.

Susan: Unhappy, on account of a man.

Are y’all fed up w/ the pandemic/COVID-19? Then, this is NOT the film for you, as it delves into similar events/themes! Yup, there are restaurant closings, face masks (KN95), and MANY people facing mental/physical breakdowns. Unlike Contagion, this story is told on a small scale w/ a personal feel. I’m a fan of McGregor (and NOT just for his looks); he usually makes acting look effortless. He brings an easy charm and lightness to Michael, though there is tragedy in his past. Susan is a serious scientist who also has a difficult past. Recently, I’ve seen Green in The Dreamers (her early role; directed by Bertolucci) and Clone/Womb (an indie co-starring Matt Smith). She brings to mind the reserved/elegant leading ladies of a past time, BUT w/ a modern twist. They have V good/easy romantic chemistry. A fun fact: The shaving cream tasted in the bath is actually made of white chocolate, as is the bar of soap bitten into- LOL! Mackenzie went on to direct Hell or High Water; check that film out if you haven’t yet.

[1] This is the “thinking man’s” end of the world type flick.

[2] I found this film quite enlightening, the performances intense, the music appropriate and, last but not least, the photography/ filming magnificent. 

[3] Mackenzie films Glasgow in glory and decay, making wonderful use of water and reflected light, as he did in Young Adam. The hard jar of the camera on a bicycle sans steady-cam is a brave choice, but it draws your attention to visual sense and foreshadows the losses about to fall.

This is a moving film, a thought-provoking one, about love, connection, and all the things we take for granted.

-Excerpts from IMDb reviews

5 thoughts on “Love in the Time of Pandemic: “Perfect Sense” (2011) starring Ewan McGregor & Eva Green

      • It kinds of falls into your interest area in terms of early cinema. It reminded me a lot of “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” except for an earlier period. It was similarly gratuitous and too long. There are pieces of it that are excellent, though; it needed a better edit. I would like to see more of Diego Calva. But I wonder how many people nowadays would even have seen or understood the references to John Gilbert, Clara Bow, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I skimmed a few reviews & also heard it has some good/interesting parts! Will have to see when on streaming… I think have to be BIT more careful being out, as just got over flu (haven’t been sick in 3 yrs).

        Like

      • It’s a real worry. I wonder about my immune system, too. In the end I haven’t been sick other than a sore throat last month, but of course we will now always wonder. I lost my sense of taste / smell for three days and was asking myself, hmm, is this COVID? (I have had all the immunizations)

        Liked by 1 person

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