Third Person (2014)
The Canadian director Paul Haggis won back-to-back Oscars for Best Picture with Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Crash (2005), but no amount of star power has been able to save this film from withering reviews by people who expect to like his work. The story revolves around three relationships in three cities. If anything unites the stories, it's that all three illustrate our deep need for love, and the badly broken ways that we pursue love. In Paris, Michael (Liam Neeson) is a famous novelist trying to rediscover his magic touch, with the commiseration of a young lover named Anna (Olivia Wilde). In Rome, Scott (Adrien Brody) is a "clothing spy" who befriends the Romanian Monika (Moran Atias) in order to save her kidnapped child. In New York, Julia (Mila Kunis) tries to regain visitation rights to her son from her angry ex, Rick (James Franco), a famous painter. In each of the three relationships, children suffer significant collateral damage. I found it hard to empathize with the characters or even find them interesting. Still, there are powerful themes here of love, trust, guilt, and forgiveness.