Lover's Prayer

"Weak"

Lover's Prayer Review


The hero of the unlikely British drama Lover's Prayer, based on Ivan Turgenev's story "First Love," is a frail, pale-faced, Russian boy named Vladimir (Nick Stahl) who stumbles through the movie as if his legs were stilts, barely finishing five complete sentences. The son of middle-class landowners, Vladimir is spending away summer near Moscow, waiting to go to college in the fall. He desperately wants to fall in love but, being very shy and deeply absorbed in his own naïve imaginary world, he's unsure of himself. To explain his longings, the director relieves the actor from acting almost entirely, and, instead, simply asks him carry his dour face throughout the movie and adds a voice over of an older Vladimir, his tone so dispassionate one wonders if the actor took sedatives before taking on the project.

Soon enough, Vladimir becomes acquainted with his parents' neighbors, an alcoholic and broke princess with a hair like a haystack, who, while reaching for a bottle, utters banalities in a loud piercing voice. Immediately, Vladimir falls for the princess's daughter Zinaida (Kirsten Dunst) and spends endless summer days in the company of this pug-nosed, plain looking capricious young woman. Zinaida adds Vladimir to her circle of admirers -- a group of men of every stripe, age, and rank. They all dance around Zinaida, playing charades, eager to fulfill her every wish. As it turns out, she seems to have many such admirers -- and Vladimir learns that she is having an affair with his own father.

In Turgenev's "First Love," the story begins on a light romantic note about a boy falling in love for the first time. But when he discovers the identity of Zinaida's lover, the mood turns to one of torment and despair. Turgenev, with remarkable sensitivity and honesty, describes the boy's growth of knowledge as he awakens to the complex nature of the adult world and discovers the depth of his own tragic passion.

Nothing of this sort happens in the movie: Lover's Prayer is one of those strange international hybrids in which foreign filmmakers -- in this case British ones -- entertain themselves with the idea of filming Russian classical literature without having a scintilla of understanding about its meaning, its idiosyncrasies, its elusiveness, and its historical basis. Unable to convey the depths of any of the characters, the tone of the film becomes murky, and every time there is a hint at some sort of hidden layer of mystery, the film stutters as if it immediately forgets what it was.

Lover's Prayer is mostly hot air -- a strange concoction of haphazard elements in which nothing really works, a love story that doesn't have a single character to care about. The actors mispronounce Russian names horribly, and each in a different way. As expected, the adaptation of Turgenev's powerful idiomatic language is substituted for a commonplace one -- a language without a flavor and weight.

Aka All Forgotten.



Lover's Prayer

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 18th September 2001

Distributed by: First Look Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 5.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Zinaida, as Vladimir, as Princess Zasyekin, as Mother, as Father, as Old Vladimir (voice), Paloma Baeza as Mashenka, as Denis

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.