Film Review: ‘Like Someone in Love’

Rin Takanashi plays a young, cell phone-addicted prostitute in Abbas Kiarostami's "Like Someone in Love," out today. CREDIT: Eurospace
Rin Takanashi plays a young, cell phone-addicted prostitute in Abbas Kiarostami’s “Like Someone in Love,” out today.
CREDIT: Eurospace

‘Like Someone in Love’
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Stars: Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno
4 (out of 5) Globes

Calling “Like Someone in Love” the funniest film by Iranian legend Abbas Kiarostami doesn’t exactly promise a fun night out. It would be like saying, for instance, something is the funniest film by Adam Sandler. Kiarostami once made “Taste of Cherry,” concerning a man on the prowl for someone to bury him after he’s committed suicide. Then again, humor is detectable in even his darkest films; even “Cherry” can be read as lightly farcical. (A very, very dark farce, mind.) In “Love,” his sense of humor is simply more noticeable than usual.

Granted, these aren’t gut-busting yuks. The funniest joke plays like a covert parody of the ultra-ascetic “master shot” filmmaking style, of which Kiarostami is a prime practitioner. In it, a character sits at a red light — in one long, unbroken shot, natch — and it goes on so long he actually falls asleep. (Imagine a Béla Tarr’s character napping during one of the director’s epic long takes to picture how amusing this is to a certain, tiny sect of filmgoers.) Even the plot is vaguely silly: a young prostitute (Rin Takanashi) in Tokyo has gone home with an elderly professor (Tadashi Okuno). Her fiancé (Ryo Kase) intercepts her client but, oblivious to what’s going on, winds up bonding with him.

This is Kiarostami’s second trip around the globe. (Meanwhile his fellow countryman and sometime collaborator, Jafar Panahi, wallows under house arrest, smuggling films, like “This is Not a Film,” out on thumb drives hidden in cakes.) Where his first, “Certified Copy,” boasted an inexplicable narrative — yet wooed viewers with Tuscany and Juliette Binoche — the story in this, his trip to Japan, is almost comically simple. But its intentions prove far more elusive.

The easiest way in is to read it as a mordant rumination on miscommunication. Its characters are prevented from knowing eachother through age, temperament and, in some cases, technology. Takanashi is a cell phone addict whose head is permanently perched downwards towards a tiny screen in her palm, her most meaningful interactions carried on via texts. Meanwhile, Kiarostami adds to the dehumanization with shots that position major characters in bizarre locations within frames. In the opening the viewer has to search the image for the speaker, and one might as well take that as a metaphor for the film: finding its “meaning” is difficult but not impossible.


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.