Essentially a two–hander, the female leads of Juliette Binoche and Lou de Laâge both deliver superb performances in Piero Messina’s The Wait. And they cry. A lot.
Juliette Binoche can cry. A lot. Such is her command that she almost seems to possess the ability to control each tear’s path down her beautifully nuanced features. Binoche plays Anna in The Wait (L’attesa), and director Piero Messina, comes as close to fetishising her constantly welling eyes and moistened cheeks as he does more generally her young co–star Lou de Laâge. She plays Jeanne, a French woman of immense naïveté and lips, who arrives at Anna’s Sicilian villa as invited by her son, Giuseppe, with whom Jeanne is romantically involved. Far from receiving a warm welcome, Jeanne is greeted by mourning strangers and strangeness. The problem is that, unbeknownst to Jeanne, Giuseppe has quite recently shuffled off his mortal coil. What compounds the problem further and becomes the film’s central premise, is that Anna can’t find it within herself to break the news to Jeanne, who subsequently expects her boyfriend home in time for the impending Easter celebrations. Despite such dubious goings on, the two women forge a friendship under the somewhat disapproving eye of Pietro (Giorgio Colangeli), the estate’s help and conscience. With Jeanne still thinking Giuseppe is alive, Anna can indulge her reluctance to accept her son’s death – which is never explained. Such mysteries might frustrate some viewers, as might the lingering, dramatic pauses and the actual wait – not so much for Giuseppe’s resurrection (the timing with Easter none too subtle) – but for Anna to finally come forth with the truth over his absence. Messina revels in these cinematic spaces and expertly fills any void of plot with atmosphere and exquisitely styled visuals. Essentially a two–hander, the female leads both deliver superb performances. And they cry. A lot. Rated M. The Wait is in cinemas now.