Photography producer Rafi (Uma Thurman) is badly bruised from her recent divorce and is addressing her emotional scars by confiding her innermost thoughts to her rational and understanding Jewish therapist Dr Lisa Metzger (Meryl Streep). When 37 year old Rafi meets 23 year old aspiring artist David (Bryan Greenberg), everything seems to change for them both as they rush headlong into a mad, passionate affair. Dr Metzger continues to reassure Rafi about her new relationship and overcoming her fears of intimacy, until she realizes that Rafi's new lover is, in fact, her only son. And she is intent on him marrying a nice Jewish girl.
Review by Louise Keller:
Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep star in Prime, a mostly entertaining romantic comedy about a woman in love, her younger lover and his psychiatrist mother.
The highlight of this complex love story is the moment when Meryl Streep's conservative therapist realises that the intimate details her vulnerable patient (Uma Thurman) is sharing with her, are actually about her own son. It's a wonderful scene and the camera hungrily laps up every delicious moment of discomfort as Streep's Dr Metzger gulps water as Thurman's Rafi sheds inhibitions and talks about orgasms. The mention of her lover's penis is the final straw for the good doctor, who manages to keep it together (more or less) as she bundles her patient into the corridor.
Writer director Ben Younger's film, about love weighed down by differences of age, background and faith, starts with a zing. The performances are immensely compelling and there's instant chemistry when Rafi and David (Bryan Greenberg) hit it off when they are locked out of a classic movie session of Antonioni's Blow Up. But Younger's script loses the plot as he seems unsure where to let the emotions flower, and the resolution is contrived and sentimental.
But there is plenty to enjoy in this perceptive romantic comedy along the way that excels in creating different worlds. There's Rafi's elegant world, David's chaos as he struggles to find his own identity, Dr Metzger's controlled, professional sanctum, and her overly protective Jewish mother persona. Dr Metzger's rational advice to her patient is at odds to the controlling nature of her relationship with her son.
It starts as a girl meets boy story, but it becomes clear that there are fundamental differences. 'I have T-shirts older than you,' Rafi tells David when she learns he is 14 years her junior, and suggests he avoids beginning sentences that begin with 'My Mom says...'.
With the exception of the therapy scenes, the anticipation is often more satisfying than the execution.
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CAST: Uma Thurman, Meryl Streep, Bryan Greenberg, Jon Abrahams, David Younger, Palmer Brown, Zak Orth
PRODUCER: Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd
DIRECTOR: Ben Younger
SCRIPT: Ben Younger
CINEMATOGRAPHER: William Rexer
EDITOR: Kristina Boden
MUSIC: Ryan Shore
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mark Ricker
RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 17, 2005
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: March 23, 2006
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.