Take My Eyes

Rated NR 2006

Spanish filmmaker Iciar Bollain's harrowing look at a sick marriage is not some random movie-of-the-week or an outraged preachment. It may be the most potent, authentically disturbed film yet about the scourge of domestic violence -- Ike and Tina notwithstanding. Lovely Laia Marull stars as an oft-abused wife and mother called Pilar, glowering Luis Tosar as her brutal bullethead of a husband. But this is no cartoon: Bollain and co-writer Alicia Luna take pains to dramatize the bonds that unite even a deeply troubled couple -- fond memories, residual hope, the ecstasies of sex, and the comforts of habit. The relationship may be doomed, but Pilar keeps it on life support because explosive Antonio signs up for therapy and because, despite the odds, she wants to believe in him. Beautifully acted and intelligently made, this is a film for thinking grownups -- a far cry from junk like Sleeping With the Enemy or Enough. With Candela Pena as the heroine's realistic sister, who sees the emotional blight in Pilar's household.

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