The oldest story in the book

Eden is a captivating version of the familiar marriage-in-trouble plot

REVIEW It's the oldest story in the book — and no, I'm not talking about Adam and Eve. Eden is yet another addition to the familiar marriage-in-trouble genre, with no real twist to speak of: after 10 years together, Breda (Eileen Walsh) feels unloved by her husband Billy (Aidan Kelly). Meanwhile, Billy finds himself tempted by the forbidden fruit of infidelity. Rather than stunt the film, this well-trodden subject matter makes Eden's success all the more impressive. Without reinventing the wheel, director Declan Recks has crafted one of the most captivating films of the year. It helps, of course, that he has two consummate performers. Kelly captures the subtle nuances of his character, who struggles to balance his selfish desires with his familiar obligations. And Walsh, winner of the Best Actress award at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, is nothing short of heartbreaking. Both actors look — for lack of a better word — real, and their presence enhances the film's ability to produce a genuine empathetic response. Taken as a whole, there is a beauty in this quiet Irish drama rarely found in the glossiest of Hollywood blockbusters, with each frame thoughtfully composed. Despite the otherwise mundane story, Eden emerges as downright idyllic.

EDEN opens Fri/5 in Bay Area theaters.

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