Relationships are tricky enough for those of us that are single. Imagine waking up one day and wondering if all the magic, intrigue and unbridled attraction has just skewed right out of your marriage. Then, imagine if life has played some cruel trick on where history is repeating itself leaving you with abandonment issues which cause you to make highly questionable, uncharacteristic choices putting your marriage on the skids due to your own misguided efforts.
Author and writer Laura (Rashida Jones) and Tech Mogul Dean (Marlon Wayans) seemingly have the perfect marriage with two lovely daughters. But, when Laura’s mostly absent father Felix (Bill Murray) unexpectedly pops up for her birthday when she shares her suspicions about Dean’s infidelity, the pair find themselves taking an emotional trip down memory lane where all feelings are painfully laid out. Have they all reached an emotional point of no return or just a rediscovery of who and why they have existed under the set of rules society says we should accept.
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, On The Rocks is a gorgeously crafted tale of how or not how to handle infidelity and what that ultimately means for all parties. The script intricately addresses that issue from a female gaze ranging a single Mom to married women, Grandmother and sister point of views coupled with the manner in which a man may or may not address his discretions. Expertly cast by Courtney Bright, Nicole Daniels and Allison Hall , this drama is sprinkled with brilliant performances from Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, Barbara Bain and Marlon Wayans.
A reunited Coppola and Murray don’t disaapoint and are clearly each other’s artistic muses. Coppola’s writing for him showcases Murray at his best, brightest and most vulnerable. Not to mention, she very successfully and tastefully portrays a Black couple’s marital strife without ghettoizing the dialogue or the characters. Instead letting them exist in the world as capable, intelligent beings that love each other despite flaws, working too much, being insecure or juggling life with burgeoning careers and young women to raise. Sofia Coppola’s attention and eye to detail is uncanny and one of the major reasons On The Rocks viscerally resonates on the most basic human level that makes it one of my favorite flicks of 2020.
Bringing up the disparity between how society perceives men when they cheat vs women when they cheat is absolute genius, But, the whole scenario where Laura’s Dad talks her into a Mexican wild goose chase gone bad is my favorite moment. Why? Because this Dad and daughter finally get to the heart of their relationship in the most tender, heartfelt moment proving that our parents and their actions can permeate us into adulthood in ways we never see coming. Rashida Jones and Marlon Wayans completely engulf themselves by allowing audiences to see the vulnerability that comes along with a marriage on the rocks. Both known for traditionally more comedic turns on screen are delightful, charming and absolutely stunning on screen together. I literally couldn’t get enough of their instantaneous chemistry.
Production Designer Anne Ross, Cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd and Composer Phoenix should all be commended of their exquisite attention to detail in every aspect, which is just as much a character as those with dialogue. From the artwork of Monet to the old school jazzy soundtrack featuring a few Hoagy Carmichael tunes to the intricate shots laden throughout , this team adds an unspoken beguiled vibe to an already perfect motion picture.
Produced by A24 in tandem with Apple TV+, On The Rocks is a lesson in humanity, understanding and unconditional love that will enlighten and leave you with a little hope in your heart for the future