Four women, four stories, all with a common theme. Love.
Tomasz Wasilewski’s United States Of Love is the journey of four very different women living in Poland in the early 1990’s all on the cusp of freedom, trying to find happiness through love.
All four women are trapped in various states of despair and Wasilewski gives the viewer a bleak outlook into how these women try and deal with the hand they are dealt.
Agata (Julia Kijowska) is trapped in a marriage that feels increasingly pointless, while lusting after her local priest. Iza (Magdalena Cielecka) is finding the life of being another mans lover increasingly unsettling, while the softly-spoken Renata (Dorota Kolak) has become transfixed with her younger neighbour Marzena (Marta Nieradkiewicz), who is rather naively pursuing her dreams of becoming a model.
The film itself is spilt into four as each female protagonist is given the chance to tell her story. It beings with the slow burn of Agata’s tale. Stuck in a loveless marriage and obsessing over her local priest. Even though her story may be some form of an insight into family life in Poland it is probably the weakest of the four journey’s and seems to take a while to gain any momentum.
It is not until we reach Iza’s story that we see exactly what lengths a woman will go to seek happiness, as her affair with a local doctor when she becomes borderline stalker.
Wasilewski gives his landscape a very grey and cold feel, making some of the shots just scream of the depression and agony his leading women are going through – there is a fantastic shot during Iza’s story where she is having sex with a stranger in a toilet and all you see is her emotionless face in the mirror as the man makes each thrust.
The director has mastered putting in long, uncomfortable pauses in shots for added effect just to add to the unease of some of the viewing.
United States of Love is certainly not a feel good film and could be seen as a cold study of a group of women at a certain point in history, but as it rolls on there is a certain amount of warmth you feel as a viewer towards these four woman – especially the seemingly kind hearted Renata.
The one thing that really stood out to this review was the lack of soundtrack throughout the hour and 45 minute film. It just added to the impact of what you were seeing and really reflects the the complex emotional state of women.
Dir: Tomasz Wasilewski
Scr: Tomasz Wasilewski
Cast: Julia Kijowska, Magdalena Cielecka, Dorota Kolak and Marta Nieradkiewicz
Prd: Agnieszka Drewno, Piotr Kobus
Runtime: 105 minutes
United States of Love is in cinemas from 18th November