When young, aspiring writer Brian Bloom (Anton Yelchin) happens to meet a beautiful woman on the street, Arielle (Bérénice Marlohe) it feels like fate, then he finds out that she’s married and they can only see each other in the evening from 5 to 7. Brian begins the affair while trying to figure out how it can possibly work. Written and directed by Victor Levin, also starring: Olivia Thrilby, Glenn Close, Frank Langella and Lambert Wilson.
Romantic films and New York are a combination that is meant to be, it’s been seen over and over from Annie Hall to When Harry Met Sally and yet it never gets old. The same goes for a story of an affair, it’s nothing new but the restricting it to two hours, a few days a week and being part of an open marriage does make it feel much less repetitive. Anton Yelchin at the outset does look like an unusual choice for a romantic lead, often having played slightly nerdy or shy characters but he always had a charm and this time it comes out in full force, added with a strong confidence which makes any doubt fade away pretty quickly. Pairing him with the undeniably obvious choice of Marlohe as Arielle, beauty, brains and a seductive accent, made a lot of sense and the two work well together, the chemistry is definitely there, although it isn’t quite the irrepressible desire, it feels much calmer.
As the two inevitably fall in love, it’s a romance heavy on the dialogue with the classic walk and talk through scenic New York and it does come across as slightly pretentious; it’s clear they were trying to represent a more intellectual and academic group of people. That quality might make this film not quite for everyone, there’s a limited amount of drama or comedy, realistically it’s a fairly simple film despite a complicated situation. You can immediately see why someone would compare the film to the work of Woody Allen, it does have that style and atmosphere but it’s much more formal, everything is slightly too perfect. It also has a few problems with direction, occasionally shots will be framed in such a way as though the director forgot to continue the movement of the camera with the actors, with them going in and out of frame and at some points just poorly shot; some choices are for reasons that are shown later but it feels as though there were better choices to achieve the same result. Considering however that this is Levin’s one and only directorial effort, it’s a respectable accomplishment.
5 to 7 may take slightly longer than usual to warm up to, but it’s worth it in the end and gives a slightly different take on a familiar story that has enough change to make it feel fresh. Yelchin and Marlohe make an interesting onscreen couple that work together well and it’s the only real film that Yelchin ever featured as a romantic lead, an unexpected part of his talent that had much left to explore, unless you count Burying the Ex but the element of zombie-ism undermines that. It’s a charming film, which although not reaching much emotional depth it will still bring out a tear or two.