5x2: Five times Two is a divorce movie that plays out in reverse. Directed by François Ozon from an original story the film starts the day a couple divorces and then goes back through five vignettes that reveal what led to that fateful day.
It begins with a peculiar scene in which the couple - Marion [Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi] and Gilles [Stéphane Freiss] - sign the divorce papers and then go to a hotel room together to have sex. From this start you know that their relationship is not typical. Scene two involves a dinner party where a conversation reveals that Gilles has not been faithful to Marion. Scene three shows the birth of their son and the peculiar reaction by Gilles. Scene four is their wedding night, which doesn't go exactly according to plan and scene five is how they meet.
As far as film narratives are concerned Memento started the trend of having a film start at the end and go back to show us what happened in the beginning - albeit with a killer hook. The French film Irreversible too used the same technique with a much harsher end. But 5x2 is a film that does not involve a mystery or any revelations. Instead it is about the way that two people's lives come together and fall apart.
Filmmaker François Ozon always has subtle psychological undercurrents in his films, which clue us into the character's motivations. Here he applies the same approach and in doing so he chooses to avoid big drama or predictable scenes and instead presents us with five scenes that paint a portrait of an inevitable broken relationship.
Ozon gets great performances from the lead actors. Freiss is aloof with rather selfish motivations but he seems to be a product of his father who we see in a couple scenes. Bruni-Tedeschi seems hopeful but is clinging onto a relationship she know won't last. With each passing scene a little more vulnerability, decietfulness and disappointment is added to their lives and by the time scene five roles around it is obvious that these two were not meant for each other.
Overall: 5x2 is a very good French film about a couple the divorce of a couple to the beginning of their relationship. The DVD has good extras although the commentary track is only in French with no subtitles. The film itself is memorable and it stays with you therefore it is highly recommended.