Throughout the film, we will come across random plaques engraved on the benches of Central Park, sometimes signifying the status of the film at that point, sometimes just randomly carrying the plot forward. The Narrator in 5 to 7 is Brian. A 24 something single American and Aspiring Novelist meets Arielle – 33, French, Married and a former Model. He was taking a stroll on the street when he sees her smoking a cigarette. A striking woman she is, not just to the protagonist’s eyes but to us viewers as well. This is the moment; the film gets your attention.
They chat, she asks about his profession. “I write, I am a writer,” he replies. She asks if he thinks she is a prostitute and he nervously says “No, No, No… No, No, No.” He compares her with ‘The Mermaid’, he saw when he was 8 years old and she playfully says; “Oh you mean, the day before yesterday.”
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She is playing around with him, as if he is a teenage kid, having a crush on his High School Teacher. There was an instant romance between them, but since she is married, there are problems. The problem here isn’t the different marital statuses of these two people but the fact that Arielle can only meet him between 5 PM to 7 PM every evening.
In France, there is a tradition called the Cinq à Sept affair, it is the affair which you have during the most ambiguously vague hours of the day; 5 to 7. This is the time of the day when you leave from work and come home for dinner, in between these 2 hours, most people’s whereabouts aren’t really known to their family.
She is French; her culture is different, unconventional and not judgmental at all. She is interested in him, wants to indulge in a relationship with him, meeting every evening for those 2 hours. Her husband approves of this Cinq à Sept relationship. She casually tells Brian about Valery, her husband, and Jane, his mistress, precisely his 5 to 7 love affair.
He is a Jewish American Citizen, he finds it awkward. He goes on the back foot at first, but he couldn’t resist, she was a stunner, after all, a mysterious beauty. There is more profoundness in her than just good looks. She is wise. She inspires him, he feels mature around her and gets to talk to people he wouldn’t talk to otherwise. She is improving his social skills.
These relationships may sound a bit awkward but the fragility with which it is handled and executed, you will actually embrace and appreciate it. It is a film where every character has a valid point and you may be favoring one understand the points made by the others. Like when Brian’s father is disappointed that his son is dating a married woman, you understand his concern but you also like his mother’s point when she says “at least somebody is in love with our son”. When you want Brian to have what he is demanding from Arielle, you find sense in Arielle’s response to it.
5 to 7 is that kind of film where you just need to stop taking sides or being judgmental and witness that love can be handled like this as well. Sometimes, the most unconventional things extract the compassionate and wise person out of you.
“Your favorite story, whatever it might be, was written for one reader,“ says Brian.
Much like that quote, 5 to 7 is a film for a certain kind of viewers. If you are an avid reader, this is a film for you, because its flow is like a book. If you are someone who is open to sentimental romance but not tearjerkers, this is a really good film for you. If you are a writer, this is a must-watch for you, an essential film you should keep with yourself. Here we witness some people in love becoming wiser as they spend a couple of hours with each other in their respective Cinq à Sept affairs. This is a film about a writer and the various relatable characters he comes across.
I highly recommend it.
5 to 7 Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia