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NYFF: “Married Life.”

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"I can't stand to see anyone suffer."The late ’40s and ’50s have become such pop culture shorthand for emotional repression and immaculately groomed exteriors that it takes a while to realize Ira Sachs"Married Life" isn’t just another parable of how darkness can be found even in the buttoned-up hearts of postwar Connecticut and Westchester County. The film is narrated by an arch Pierce Brosnan, whose character, Richard, is a cheery bachelor who learns that his staid friend Harry (Chris Cooper) has been having an affair with a younger woman, Kay (Rachel McAdams, the film’s one weak link). Harry wants to leave his wife, Pat (Patricia Clarkson), but is still fond of her and can’t bear the thought of the hurt and humiliation that a divorce would bring her, and so conceives of an incredibly sad murder plot he thinks of in terms akin to putting a beloved dog to sleep.

"Married Life" isn’t set in actual period America, it’s set in movie period America, where women wear full make-up and an updo to just hang around the house, where a night out on the town is a montage of dining, dancing, and a giddy drive home that might as well take place along a rear-projected road. The characters at first seem just as stylized: Pat is the sensible, passionless matron; Kay is the impeccable blond who enters the film like a trouble-lugging Hitchcock heroine; Harry the cold fish ready to risk everything on an unexpected obsession. But then the film turns these impressions on their heads again and again, revealing new facets to each character and taking unexpected directions until "Married Life" emerges not as another winking exercise in genre stylings but as a believable and darkly funny account of a time in the lives of four people, though one filtered through Richard’s slicked-over storytelling. It’s deceptively fine work from Sachs, whose last film was the subdued indie drama "Forty Shades of Blue," and who here finds a way to both revel in vintage trappings and implode all of their cinematic associations, leaving behind a gently human story about how anyone’s heart can contain… not darkness, necessarily, but unknowable depths.

"Married Life" screened September 29 and 30, and will open February 22, 2008 in limited release from Sony Pictures Classics.

+ "Married Life" (FilmLinc)
+ "Married Life" (IMDb)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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