"Benning and Harris have always been eminently watchable and here they both manage to engage the audience throughout"
The Face of Love tells the story of Nikki (Annette Benning) who, five years after the death of her husband, Garret (Ed Harris), is still struggling to come to terms with her loss. Then she stumbles upon his exact double, art teacher Tom (also Harris), and embarks on a relationship as a way of trying to replace her deceased husband.
As a central plot device, the notion of Garret and Tom being identical (but in no way related or connected) is extremely on the nose and doesn’t fully work. The film explores themes of love and loss, the notion of holding on to memory and trying to replace that which we have lost, yet it lacks subtlety. While it is by its nature a melodrama, but you can’t help but feel a more deft directorial hand would have helped, not to mention some better dialogue.
What the film does get right though is the casting. Benning and Harris have always been eminently watchable and here they both manage to engage the audience throughout, keeping you interested when the script threatens to make things dull.
Yet while its leads manage to rescue the film to a degree, they can’t save it entirely, as we’re left with a film whose central conceit is, in many ways, its downfall.