Like The Favor, Changing Times spoke to me because its subject matter overlaps with the most emotionally important experience of my life. I would say that of the two this one affected me even more emotionally, that it reached just a little bit deeper into the part of me that longs for the great love of my life.
I’m not sure why. Changing Times is probably a better movie by most standards, so maybe it’s to be expected it would be more effective emotionally. It may be that the situations overlapped more—for one thing, the ages of the main characters are almost exact for a parallel with my own life.
The main storyline has Gérard Depardieu coming to work in Tangier (Morocco), where he—intentionally—encounters the great love of his life Catherine Deneuve. They had had a love affair that ended when they were twenty. It is now thirty years later. He has never stopped loving her and dreaming of reuniting with her, and he has never married. She is married to a doctor and has a grown son.
There are other storylines as well, mostly having to do with the son (who has a troubled single mother girlfriend, and a gay lover on the side), but certainly the reuniting of the Depardieu and Deneuve characters after thirty years is what held my interest.
Not surprisingly, I appreciated the ending. Corny perhaps, but touching.
Depardieu’s behavior doesn’t match up all that closely to what I have done, considered doing, or imagined myself doing, and Deneuve’s response is not real close to how my former girlfriend has responded to me, or how I’ve fantasized her responding, or how I would guess she would respond if I used the approach that he does in this movie. But the emotions felt familiar, even if the specifics didn’t. I believed Depardieu in this role. I felt like he “got it,” that he has been where those of us who’ve had such a love have been.
Beyond that core element, the movie is decent, but it wouldn’t be a big favorite of mine. It was moderately interesting, it’s very smooth and professional, it’s realistic, and it deals with important adult subjects in an adult way. So it’s a solid movie that would get at least a mild recommendation from me.
But as I say, it hit me harder than that because it took me back to the great love of my life. Not that my mind is ever far from there, but it put me even more in touch with those emotions. Indeed, immediately after watching Changing Times, I went for a long, meditative walk.