Movie: Adore


So two nights ago, Fangirls, I some how stumbled upon quite an interesting movie on Netflix. It seemed like just my type of bad forbidden love story movie. Even if they’re terrible, I just love watching movies about weird love / sex stories, for the sake of both getting a laugh & observing the weird places sexuality takes you sometimes. I thought the would be awful, but I found myself very wrapped up in the story line and enjoying the movie quite a bit. Until the ending, of course.

Get ready for a whole lot of spoilers, Fangirls! If you want to watch & experience this movie for yourself, I’d turn back now.

Adore is an Australian movie, with some pretty well known actresses as the two leads which at first glance I hadn’t realized. Naomi Watts & Robin Wright play Lill and Roz, two long time best friends. The movie opens showing them as children playing on the beach. We see them grow up in these great transitions that happen all through out the movie. A lot of trick of the eye, one moment they’re this age, the next they’re older sort of thing. I think it’s great for a movie like this which takes place over a pretty long period of time. It makes things more fluid.


So, Lill and Roz grow up together, they get married to some gents, and each have a son. Lill’s husband dies, and life carries on, she doesn’t remarry. The two families live right down the road from each other, in these beautiful coastal houses. Most of this movie takes place in the houses or right below them on the beach, it’s such a beautiful place. The boys grow up to be very handsome & nice young men, and the four of them are very close, eating dinner & drinking wine together almost every night. Roz’s husband gets offered a job in Sydney, and when she explains to him that she and her son Tom are very happy at their house, he leaves for Sydney without them.

Meanwhile, there’s a whole lot going on in the background. Ian, Lill’s son, is often seen with his eye caught on Roz. They share a lot of glances, share a lot of cigarettes, it’s easy to tell where this is going. One night, he makes a move, and Roz doesn’t stop him. Tom see’s his mother leaving Ian’s room, and decides to go pay Lill a visit. I don’t like that seems to originally do this almost out of anger at Ian, like you banged my mom, now I’ll bang yours. But I think what they’re meaning to show is that Tom was also harboring feelings for Lill, and he took Ian & his mother engaging as a go ahead for him to do the same. So, they all end up talking about these affairs that they’ve began with each other’s son’s, and agree that they should stop. But of course, they don’t, and two years goes by. The four of them all seem very happy. Living on this beach all in love & stuff.

But Tom goes to Sydney for a month to work on a play. There, he begins an affair with the lead in the play. When he returns home, everyone finds out, and Roz & Lill decided they need to call it quits on their relationship with the boys. Ian is very upset by this, because he doesn’t feel he should be punished for Tom’s actions.

Some more years go by, Tom marries the actress, Ian unhappily finds a girl, and they both have a daughter. But, Tom once again fucks everything up when he begins his affair with Lill once again. Ian sees them, and loses his shit. He tells everyone of their affair, and of his affair with Roz. Their wives leave with their children, never to be seen again. There’s a lot of emotions, friendships questioned, it’s hard to tell which direction things will go in.

Then, we cut to a scene of Ian swimming out to the dock where the four often laid out together. He climbs up on top, and we find the other three there. Tom, Lill, and Roz, and then Ian joins them. They all seem very happy. But, they’re laying somewhat spaced out, leaving things open ended. They’re all laying together, but they’re not cuddling up to one another. So, did they all end up together? Are they just a happy family again? The world will never know, and I will be forever angry.

Adore film Anne Fontaine

I wanted them all to end up dating again. They were all so happy, I didn’t see why it all had to end. I’m also a sucker for happy, cheesy, endings. Sexuality is a weird thing, but I think they ended up fighting it too much. I think they ended the movie open because they didn’t want to make too much of a statement about relationships of that sort, with a much older and much younger person. They didn’t want to condone or condemn it. All of it did get me thinking though that if the genders of this movie were all switched around, and the two older characters were men and their children were women, I think this would be a very different movie. So suck on that for a bit and have a nice ponder about gender & our world. It’s interesting stuff.

Though it aggravated me very much, I recommend Adore very much. For the view of the beach, if anything. But it really does make you think about a lot, and I think that they went about a lot of it pretty accurately, more than just for movie shock factor stuff. I think the movie all around was pretty well done, it’s very fluid. The acting was great, the movie didn’t drag at all. I feel that there wasn’t a second misspent in this movie, which isn’t so easy to find. So, check it out, Fangirls! And let me know what you thought of that bogus ending once you see the whole movie for yourself!


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35 thoughts on “Movie: Adore

  1. Nice review! I agree the movie left audiences with lots to ponder in regards to gender and sexuality (which I think is the point).
    About your happy ending–I firmly believe that they all ended up together again. That’s what the raft symbolized throughout the story. We see each couple on the raft when they are about to get together (or back together, in the case of Lil and Tom after he cheated on her). After Roz and Lil break up with the young men, we never see them out swimming and on the raft–in fact, we only get two scenes in the ocean. In one, Ian recklessly decides to go surfing alone in bad weather after Roz rejects him. The ocean spits him back out, and nearly cripples him. The sea rejects him just like Roz did. Later, the whole group and the wives and daughters go for a day at the seashore. We see Tom and Lil in the water, but Roz and Ian stay on shore. Roz and Ian don’t go in the water because they are not sleeping together anymore. Tom and Lil have secretly resumed their relationship so they are shown in the ocean. But Roz and Ian are not together, and their unhappy exile on shore mirrors their personal estrangement. Ian returns to the water at the end because he and Roz are back together. Roz finally changed her mind (that’s why we see her say “It probably is all my fault,” finally acknowledging that she rejected Ian unfairly, and then she heads down the beach to go to the raft). The ending is supposed to be ambiguous, letting the audience make up its mind what happened, but the symbolism is pretty blatant.

    • Thank Goodness I’m not the only “freak” thinking like that!! You know, I’ve searched the web a while until I stumbled upon fangirls, which felt like an island in the middle of the bad reviews ocean :)) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Thank you soo much for this. It totally makes sense that symbolism! Really gave me some peace of mind. The chemistry between Roz and Ian fascinates me . So I thought that because he couldn’t forget her even after six years (that scene where he ask her to take off her glasses showed that he still love and want her) and when she says “It probably is all my fault” led to believe that they would not be able to keep apart. Maybe it took some time, but it was totally not over. And now I can think of many evidence, actually.
      That is quite satisfying

    • I just watched the movie for the first time last night, and the ending was haunting me, so I took to the Web to see what anyone else had to say about it, and I’m so glad I did! I didn’t even think about the questions the movie raised about gender or anything. Great review! Jen, I absolutely love your take on the movie! Personally, I thought the ocean represented a timelessness since the sons where featured playing in it at the beginning of the movie and then all throughout. The mothers were often seen watching the boys from the shore, at the beginning and even after the affairs began, (which is another reason I got the timelessness aspect). At the end of the movie, where Ian joins the others on the floating dock, I took the fact that none of them moved after Ian layed down to mean that they were all stuck in time (or a sort of cycle) , and even though they tried to break away from it ( by being with other people and starting families), they were eventually pulled back in and trapped. And I love open ended movies like this, where, like you said, the audience can draw their own conclusions. I feel like it adds different dimensions to the story. I would honestly love to see more of the strange love story featured in the movie, but I feel like a part 2 would take away from part one. Okay, I’m done with my rambling. Thanks to everyone who read it this far! Lol.

    • Great Analysis. I would also like to add 1. That the girls always walked together, closely and after the final talk where Lil admits she and Tom had rekindled their liaison to Roz you see them walking apart…signaling their broken /wounded relationship as well. 2. Tom shows he is of the poorer character by purposefully withholding he and Lil were together again when he and Ian are sharing a beer. Ian implies he isn’t over Roz and that his relationship with Hannah was not to last. Tom had the perfect opening to let him know, thus ending Ian’s internal suffering. Ian truly loved Roz. He also encourages Lil to withhold the information from Roz. I personally think he relished having the last laugh. His whole motivation from the start was revenge , albeit subconsciously at times, but there always remained an undercurrent of it.

  2. Thank you for this. I also enjoyed it very much, and hoped for a happy ending too. For more strange sexuality with lots of romance, you might check out Sex, Lies and Videotape, The Piano, or Holy Smoke! [sic]. Older movies, all, but still.

  3. One more thing I should mention about the ambiguous ending. The movie is based upon a book, a long short story, really, by Doris Lessing. I like her, and her involvement is one of the reasons I was originally interested in seeing the film, although I hadn’t read this particular story before I saw it. After I saw the film, I read the story.

    The story ends on an ambiguous note as well. In fact, it ends when the women leave with the granddaughters. I suspect the screenwriter who adapted the novella couldn’t give us a cheesy happy ending, not unless he wanted to be accused of butchering a Nobel-winning author’s work. There’s an actual word, “bowdlerize,” that refers to censoring or “happifying” an author’s work. They used to do it to Shakespeare, letting Romeo and Juliet live happily ever after, and Hamlet survive. So doing that has a really bad connotation, and is frowned upon.

    But he did add ten minutes after the younger women find out about the affairs and leave. That ten minutes sets up Roz’s change of heart and implies that Roz and Ian got back together (Tom and Lil were already sleeping together again). I find it pretty significant that they all end up on their raft again, and the last words uttered in the film are “Good morning.” Ian says that when he climbs onto the raft. Then he lies down beside Roz and the film ends. I thought of it as a new beginning for all of them. I think the author made it as happy as he could without being accused of distorting Lessing’s book.

  4. They absolutely got back together. Ian didnt smile the entire time Roz and he were apart. But the last scene, he smiled. He only married Hannah because he felt its what he SHOULD do. The guys werent wearing rings at the end. Look at their body language. Tom looks carefree and relaxed, Roz looks calm (shes slightly smiling), Lil looks like shes about to float away. Theres no way they wouldve went back to being a “happy family” like they were before the affairs. Ian fell in love with Roz and hadnt quit. Ian was very emotional and he wouldnt have been so happy in the last scene if things didnt return to the way he wanted them. Just because they werent lying on top of one another doesnt mean they arent together. Their lives are in the perfect position to be together. They all have a rare bond that cant be broken. (That was certainly proven in the story.)

    I think this film was very beautiful and artful. Ive seen too many reviews from women hating on Robin Wright and Naomi Watts. Im 23, female, and I have a pretty open I say “f**k you” to those women! Im sure they are why this film was rated so poorly. If you are a boring, prudish, insecure human with a cookie cutter marriage/life — then this movie definitely is not for you.

    I love this blog. Im glad to see that other people agree with me about the ending! (;

    • “Im 23, female, and I have a pretty open mind..” woahhh. You just described me. LOL. And I completely agree with you!

    • I completely agree with you. I think the women knew that the guys needed to experience life, like get married and have kids. I thought this was a beautiful movie. I’m a 39-year-old woman and it didn’t defend me at all. You can’t help who you fall for and in my heart, I truly believe they are together but this time they are all grown so it’s going to be a different kind of relationship but the same love

  5. I agree. It bothers be that men can date younger women and that’s okay, example of new wife for Roz’s ex but not okay for the women to date younger men. Granted at 17/18 was young but love is love.

  6. some people on this board say its just upsetting to people because this movie does not adhere to societies imposed moralities but I observed a movie full of narcissistic characters who cannot look outside themselves when making decisions…some others wrote about the characters were only true themselves at the end…. I say these the boys were too young and had never been in the real world so knowing their true selves was impossible since they have never tired or failed, etc thus they had zero idea of what a real relationship is like …the mothers were untrue to themselves in the fact they did not acknowledge their need to be with each other…they just used the boys to facilitate keeping their relationship.

    First of all the boys are 16 and 17 when they begin to bed the mothers….I saw a cast interview from the Sundance movie festival and the actors playing the boys mention they are 16-17 when they started with the mothers and late twenties at the end. They are clearly not mature men.

    This movie is about the relationship between Lil and Roz….that’s it….how nothing (not even the well being of the boys) will even get between them. A great example of this is when Lil finds out the Roz is bedding her 17 year son and her first instinct is about Roz and not the well being of her young son. Most mothers first reaction would be to protect the son. (she did the opposite) Lil does not confront Roz or her son but instead lets her surrogate son enter her bed in the middle of the night and bangs him at sun up!! Later when Roz breaks off from Ian she is preserving her relationship with Lil since Lil was dumped by Tom. Lis and Roz’s relationship is the main theme of this movie.

    Naomi Watts had a great interview where she described Lil and Roz as hooked on the boys like drugs. This was an excellent comment. In most relationships each person is not an addict hook on their partner but half of the relationship. In the moive Lil cries that if she does not “get it” meaning Tom’s sex that she will suffocate. In the end it turns out she was happy just having an affair with Tom. She has a relationship (Roz) but wants the romance and sex that Tom provides her. Her and Tom even used family gatherings as a chance to have sex. When people do things or risk things like this they are acting like someone who is an addict. The point Naomi makes is the women are not in a relationship but are addicted to the boys for sex and attention and unable to quit. Naomi Watts reminded me of Diane Lane in Unfatihful. Successful women with a wonderful life but is literally addicted to sex with a young man.

    Yes this is incest (not legally but emotionally) Lil and Roz are surrogate moms to the boys. I equate it to having sex with your nanny of 17 years.

    I believe Lil and Roz do not want an equal as a husband, boyfriend, lover, etc like common relationships. They have that in each other. To be worshipped and serviced sexually is what they want. The boys provided this in abundance. This is the sick twist, since they are using each others boy for this reason which is very damaging to their development.

    One thing was clear…Ian was mentally unstable. I thought the actor playing Ian did a great job portraying this…. obviously his father’s death damaged him. Add to this banging his surrogate mom as a teenager and his mental illness got worse. He and the Tom were both a man/child who never struck out on their own and were forever at their mother’s “breast”. Ian working for the family business or Tom’s father finally having to set up job opportunities to get the boy out of the house are example of how these two never entered the real world. Even later Tom rides his wife’s successful acting career. Two truly messed up Peter Pans. All four characters did not want to leave the “make believe” or “unreal” bubble they all lived in.

    It’s interesting how Lil and Roz laughed at and rejected traditional men who were self reliant, successful and time tested, for two man/childs who they viewed as “gods”. The boys behavior never evolves and they do not become self reliant men who have scares from life experiences or failures. The are truly untouched as they approach 30 years old. Still babes. Ian’s behavior at the end is exactly liked he acted at 16 years old. But at this time he is late in his 20’s married, career and has a child, yet he still behaves the same.

    I laughed so hard that at age 17 the boys for the most part “ordered” the moms into the bedroom for sex. What was creepy was how the mothers giggled like schools girls and ran off to lay under the boys.

    It was interesting how the boys looked so relieved to get rid of their wives and children, but Roz was they only one that looked disappointed and heart broken.

    It was also interesting how Tom and had no allegiance to his father. His best friend is banging his Mom and he shows no protection for his father. He let his father be made a fool of and felt no sadness for his father. Even when his Dad asked him about his girlfriend he lied to his Dad. Very disrespectful.

    Finally the ending was such a let down. I believe the four of them look emotionally and spiritually dead at the end. They have lied, cheated, destroyed everyone around them and they are left with each other but cant trust each other anymore. Lil is an addict for sex with Tom, her son Ian is mentally unstable, Roz who looks like she regrets ever doing this and is heart broken over her grand daughter and Tom who will soon cheat on Lil again because he has no allegiance to anyone but himself…..but they get their way and get to bang each other into the future leaving a gigantic path of destruction of young wives and young children. But we get to see none of that and how the characters deal with it. Again they are let off the hook….they get to dispose of unwanted wives and children and the most important part Roz and Lil get to stay together which again is the main focus of the film. They did not have to pay any price that was actually important to them. Say, for some reason they had to leave their paradise to be together or maybe Lil and Roz had to move away from each other to be with the boys…would they do that? Losing family, children or grand children was not a heavy price for them to pay…I think the relationship between Lil and Roz had to be offered as a sacrifice for them to stay with the boys….would they pay that price..i think not…

  7. yeah, would it have had the same effect (would i/we have liked it as much) if the genders were reversed– two old men and two young girls??

  8. hey, does anyone know any movies like this? like with Weird love stories ex. Adore and Stoker? please recommend :))))

  9. I absolutely loved this movie. The story line was unbelievable. The acting was awesome. My opinion though was I honestly think that Ian and Roz fell in love with each other and Lil and Tom loved each other. I think that’s why it was so hard for Roz to break up with Ian. This was a beautiful movie. The women knew that the boys had to find themselves and have a life they couldn’t give them, like having children. I do feel for the wives. They were just used to have the kids and then they were thrown away but took the kids with them. Once the guys tasted life, they went back to what was familiar and made sense to them. I know in my heart that they ended up together but in a different light.

  10. Well, I liked the movie it was interesting and captivating couldn’t stop watching this train wreck. I know shit like this happens in real life not exactly like this, but more along the lines of a friend bedding a friends son who is like double or nearly tripple the age. Not with the double down like in this movie where the taboo goes both ways and they are having a go at eachothers child and I personally would kill a bitch, probably not take her life but for fuck sakes I’d be trippen the fuck out cause I wouldn’t do that and would expect the same morality from my own friends. But the reality of these relationships that I’ve seen in real life is it completely destroys the relationships between the friends I guess that’s why it was a cool watch because it seemed the opposite…. But I think it did destroy the relationships in someways like when they were like OMG they are trying to kill each other when the boys got into a fight in the water and they never did seam to be as happy as they were in the start its almost like they were as happy as they could be given the new arrangements but not the same it was actually really sad I shed a year for sure.

  11. The characters are not human, they are creatures of the sea, the whole story is a modern myth. The mothers are referred to as nymphets (sea nymphs) by the boys, the boys are referred to a gods (Neptune, sea gods) by their mothers. When the husband tries to move his wife away from the sea, she cannot go with him, because the power of the sea has such a strong hold on her. The other woman’s husband dies in a car crash, but there is a suggestion he couldn’t understand his sea-nymph wife and had other human women that he was having affairs with. When the boys are grown, the mothers begin relationships with them, because there are no other sea-gods around for them to love. All four of them cannot function properly in the human world away from the sea, so they build their own world together outside of normal human time and space. It is only when they are forced to conform to human rules that they have problems. You can also see the effect the sea has on their grandchildren, at one point one of the grandchildren wants to swim away into the sea on her own but the child’s mother (who is human) tries to stop her, it’s father on the other hand understands because he recognises the call of the sea in his own child who is one quarter sea nymph. When the grandchildren have to leave they call for their grannies, because they know they are being taken away from the sea and the company of their own kind. When Lil talks about trying to break-off her relationship she describes it as suffocation, which is what a fish feels when it is out of water.

  12. when the boys had daughters, i was wondering whether or not they were thinking how the daughters could end up with them when they hit 18. just seemed wrong with the gender swap

  13. Only just found this Movie on Netflix and I didn’t think I was going to like it at all but boy what I wrong….Xavier Samuel is captivating to watch. Never really heard of him before but the entire film had me engrossed in the Chemistry he had with Ros. I really wanted them both to work out and be together, so I was a bit dismayed with the ending. Were they together ? Weren’t they together ? His love for her was beautiful and throughout the years you could see that he had never stopped loving her. Even on the day in which it all erupted, they were sat on the beach and he said to her “take off your glasses, I don’t like you hiding your eyes from me” WOW OH WOW!!! At the end when he was sat in his car crying – was he crying for losing his Wife and Daughter…..NO….I don’t think he was. He was crying for all the wasted years of not being with the Woman he truly loved.

    Skip to the end when he’s swimming to the floating deck. He says Good Morning but none of them even look at him or speak to him – this had me confused and somewhat upset. I know we are to draw our own opinions of the ending, but I’d liked to have seen something more. He looked quite content and happy, so this couldn’t have been the morning after the night before as it doesn’t make sense. There’s no touching and no Chemistry with any of them 😦

    Thoughts on this ?

  14. The ending was painful. I felt like Roz and Ian really loved each other, and I really wanted them together. The other couple was less likeable to me but not sure why. 😉

  15. My first thought about the ending is that they all committed suicide because they were all laying so still and lifeless on the raft…

  16. Love it too. They are definitely together at the end. They are back to being completely at ease with each other. Found this review before reading all the negative reviews, but I probably will go read them anyway, just to see if reviews are on about the awful bits of acting, directing and editing that are included, or are just objecting to the morality.

    I’m amused that the actors are 25 and 30 at the time it was filmed, I think it makes the age difference thing a bit more complicated. That we are seeing a much less serious age difference than we are told we are seeing. It’s a legal age difference regardless, given it’s an Aussie movie.

  17. I don’t know if it was me wanting the ending to be that way, but in my head, they went back to the way things were. The way the ending was left definitely made it open for interpretation, but I took it as they were all back together. Like I said, maybe that’s my wishful thinking! Anyways- AMAZING movie. I wasn’t sure I’d like it but I LOVED it.

  18. Your review was exactly how I felt. I loved this film, and I hated the ending because I so badly wanted them to end up back together. Ian was rightfully pissed when Roz decided to end their two year long relationship like it was nothing at all. They were in fact dating and Tom”s fuck up with Lil shouldn’t have effected that at all. But all in all this is a favourite of mine there is nothing about it besides the ending that I don’t like.

  19. I love, hate this movie. All the scenary appeals to me, a girl who grew up running to the ocean. The story is against all I’d be about or believe in, yet I’m compelled. I found it tragic. And, I’d like a sequel, what actually became of them all. It was disturbing, crossed lines. I cant relate to my friends sons like this, but, it may prove into something few of us thought of or understand. It’s still a riveting movie, disconcerting as it is. Adore #2 needs to follow.

  20. my take on the ending…Ian was definitely mental, I feel like he killed everyone…they were all spaced out weirdly on the raft…anyone else think this??????

  21. You mentioned wondering about a story where the roles were reversedand men we’re having an affair with younger women. On Amazon Prime is the movie Blame It on Rio. We’re just that scenario is set up. I would be interested in your take on the comparison between the two movies.

  22. I loved this movie , Society has opened the door to so many differences in peoples that has long been repressed. Except the older women and younger man ,is still not accepted freely. The older man and younger women is and has been looked on like somewhat of an achievement. I think as a free society we need to change this too . There are today successful relationships of this sort . the President France , married a women 25 years older and have been together for 15 years . You can not help who you love and people have a right to be happy , But is was sad that the younger women were hurt , and that was wrong. I really felt that Ros and Ian should have stayed together despite Tom and Lil. I really did enjoy this Movie.

    • Xavier was the best choice for as Ian in this movie. Adore is one of my favourites. Then Xavier went, in the same year he did Adore, on to play Enzo in the movie Plush with Emily Browning. If you haven’t seen it, please do. Xavier was brilliant in it. He then actually hooked up with Emily and they were together for 3 years after that.

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