Conversations With Other Women


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I read the description of this film on the DVD box and became so apprehensive that the disc sat on my desk for six days before I watched it. The cause of my dread? First of all, the entire 84-minute film is presented in split screen, so the cinematography consists of 168 minutes worth of almost perfectly square images. Second, the entire film is fundamentally a single conversation between two people, so it's essentially a long one-act play. Not much potential for cinema greatness here, thought I.

I was wrong. First of all, I wasn't thinking straight. My two concerns were contradictory. Once you accept that the entire film consists of two people talking to one another, the split-screen concept seems like a very smart idea. After all, what is the point of a single widescreen image of two people talking indoors? It's not even possible to show both of their faces - unless one splits the screen with simultaneous images from two cameras, thus allowing the audience to see their reactions as well as their dialogue. When you think about it, that technique was exactly the right way to film a single extended conversation.

The technique also works very well for some flashbacks in which the same characters are shown as they are now and as they were in the past. In these instances the square images provide rather ungainly framing for the action, with people falling out of the picture here and there, but what those scenes lose pictorially they gain thematically by showing the past and present together. I ended up concluding that the film could not have been anywhere near as good without the dual images. And I normally hate split screens.

As for the conversation itself - well, not many scripts could pull off such a narrowly circumscribed conceit, but this one does. There are four good reasons.  First of all, the dialogue is clever and witty. Second, the audience slowly becomes aware that there are secrets to be revealed, thus upping the ante on viewer involvement.  Third, the characters are not only witty, but also interesting and vulnerable, and we want to know more about them. (It doesn't hurt that the actors are also competent and attractive.) Fourth, the running time is short enough to keep our eavesdropping from becoming tiresome.

Two thirty-something strangers meet at a wedding. They flirt wittily  ...

You know what? I'm not going to tell you any more, because one of the pleasures this film offers is a gradual revelation that the two people are not what they initially seem to be, and if I tell you any of the hows and whys, I'll spoil your fun. If the premise doesn't leave you claustrophobic, you will probably find yourself liking this movie about love and regret, as I did in spite of my initial misgivings.


Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


I don't think one could present a two-character conversation much better than it was done here. My hat is tipped to the author, director, and actors.



* widescreen anamorphic split screen

* Director's Commentary

* Interviews with Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart

* Director's Demo: Why Split Screen; Made On A Mac


70 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
62 (of 100)


6.8 IMDB summary (of 10)
B- Yahoo Movies


Box Office Mojo. Arthouse, major market only. It grossed $380,000 in 14 theaters. It grossed more overseas.


  • Helena Bonham Carter and Nora Zehetner show their breasts. (They play the same character at different ages.)
  • Erik Eidem shows his bum.