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Circle of Two (1981)

Director:
Jules Dassin

AKA
Obsession

COUNTRY
Canada

Genre
Drama/Romance

NORWEGIAN TITLE
-

RUNNING TIME
106 minutes

Producers:
Henk Van der Kolk

Screenwriter (based on a novel by Marie Terese Baird):
Thomas Hedley


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING

Ashley St. Clair

Richard Burton

Sarah Norton

Tatum O'Neal

Claudia Aldrich

Nuala Fitzgerald
Mr. Norton Robin Gammell

Mrs. Norton

Patricia Collins

Dr. Reed

Kate Reid

Paul

Michael Wincott

 

Review

This look at cross-generational love between a 16-year-old student (Tatum O'Neal) and a 60-year-old artist (Richard Burton) is a lot less controversial and hard-hitting than it could have been. Director Jules Dassin was clearly concerned with making his film virtuous to the extent that the circle of relatives and acquaintances around our two platonic lovers act increasingly absurdly in order for Burton and O'Neal to come off as the sane ones. Along with the uneven production values, this gives the film an academic quality, even if there is material in here for real emotions and valid observations. A notably world-weary Burton aptly underplays and comes away from it all with a certain dignity; O'Neal gives her character spirit if not authenticity. They share a handful of beautiful scenes together, such as a song on a boat and the fairly classy ending. The director aims for tactful and timeless, but cannot prevent his film from appearing irrelevant and looking dated. At times, the love story feels more like that of a 17th century artist and his muse than something from late 1970s North America. Part of the problem is the supporting roles, most of whom are conspicuously unsatisfactory.

Copyright 12.04.2022 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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