IFC Films | Release Date: February 3, 2012
6.9
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 42 Ratings
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Positive:
26
Mixed:
11
Negative:
5
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5
SpangleApr 6, 2017
David Mackenzie's Perfect Sense is a film that shows the problem with narration better than any film I have ever seen. Long ago, a family member remarked how they hated narrators in film. At first, it is a little odd to hear because narratorsDavid Mackenzie's Perfect Sense is a film that shows the problem with narration better than any film I have ever seen. Long ago, a family member remarked how they hated narrators in film. At first, it is a little odd to hear because narrators often do add a lot. Some of my own personal favorites use narrators extensively. Yet, their point is a fair one. All too often, the narrator is a crutch in telling the story and the story itself feels either too disjointed to work or is too exposition heavy to really actually dive into its story. Often times, this is a non-issue. Others, it is detrimental to the film. Perfect Sense has a unique premise in which the world, one by one, loses its five senses. In conjunction with this, Michael (Ewan McGregor) and Susan (Eva Green) fall in love and discover that, though everything else is collapsing around them, the fact that they have each other is enough. It is touching material that knows it is touching material and compounds the issue with tone-deaf narration that is the equivalent of walking into the room of a quadriplegic and saying, "Hey, it is not all that bad. At least you still have emotions."

Perfect Sense's premise is quite captivating. When it really dives into it all, you feel the trauma of losing your senses individually. Losing one at a time, the people in this world struggle to cope, but they adapt. They keep going along in their regular lives, except without a sense. Losing it is traumatic with odd symptoms immediately preceding the sense going away, but once it is gone, they quickly adjust and move on in their new lives. The worst part is the anticipation and nostalgia they suddenly feel for smell, taste, or hearing. Descriptions of a wet forest with all of the leaves and the smell of fresh rain really play out well and impeccably written. Though we can have all of our senses, the film somehow makes us feel that very same nostalgia. In a way, it feels as though we too have lost these senses and are trying to imagine what it was like to have them alongside the characters. The film's sense of imagery is impeccable and really captures what it feels like to have these senses and experience the world. Of all of its positives, this stands as its sole triumph.

While the romance is not particularly necessary, it is well done. Casting aside past misgivings and forging ahead with a new love, Perfect Sense's moral of the story is that nothing matters if you have love. While perhaps a bit sappy, its romantic core really does how little else matters. The scenes are passionate, touching, and tense as they race about without being able to hear and look for one another. Perhaps it is not necessarily a must have for this film, this romance does wonders for the characters and their arcs, while also providing some ample space for Mackenzie to develop the film's final moral message.

Yet, far too often, we return to our narrator. Describing the downfall of society and making some obvious parallels with how often the world turns to violence, it is far too heavy-handed and hamfisted to actually work. While its actual plot is nuanced and intricately written, its exposition-laden narration that tries to speak to how to act in the world and spoon feed the audience words about what it means to be alive, really hurts the film dramatically. Instead of being a compelling science fiction film, it feels as though focus shifts to the narration with the plot being nothing more than a re-enactment of a scenario akin to an episode of Dateline on NBC. This narration is not merely heavy-handed, but feels practically obnoxious and know-it-all with how it professes to know the meaning of life, while the poor infantile-minded viewer needs this bedtime story to be told to them in order for them to understand it all. Its exposition can be excused, but how it preaches about morals, what really matter, and the human experience comes off as being written by a teenager with no life experience. Compared to the more contemplative and show-don't-tell nature of the plot itself, this narration is greatly unfortunate and constantly takes the steam out of the film.

That said, two well-matched romantic leads in Ewan McGregor and Eva Green, alongside a compelling premise is often enough to save a film, no matter its flaws. Perfect Sense nearly pulls this off, but still winds up being a mixed bag and bang average due to its annoying narration that tries to do too much and feels as though the filmmakers admitted they could not achieve thematic nuance in the plot, without including this hamfisted narration. It is unfortunate and incredibly lazy, reducing what is a nice little science fiction romance film into being a film that tries to imbue more importance than it really possesses.
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6
RobertBroganOct 6, 2015
The Perfect Sense feels like it should have been a good movie but winds up not more than mediocre. The lead actress is a terrible fit for the role, her acting felt fake in a few key scenes and in others she seemed more a spoiled princess thanThe Perfect Sense feels like it should have been a good movie but winds up not more than mediocre. The lead actress is a terrible fit for the role, her acting felt fake in a few key scenes and in others she seemed more a spoiled princess than an epidemiologist working hard on a cure to save the world. Besides that, the film was alright. The premise was interesting, the shooting was fine, and Ewan MacGregor's performance was believable. I must say, though, if you are going to make a movie about the end of the world and you want it to work, the audience has to have a good amount of sympathy for the characters. Expand
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4
sanders201Jun 8, 2012
Terrible. I wanted so badly to like this film, but it was terrible....boring...in opposition to one critic's review, it was in fact over-stylized and redundantly abstract. The voice-over narration was annoying and inappropriate. TheTerrible. I wanted so badly to like this film, but it was terrible....boring...in opposition to one critic's review, it was in fact over-stylized and redundantly abstract. The voice-over narration was annoying and inappropriate. The relationship between the two main characters seemed forced and insincere. I am usually very fond of under-the-radar films, especially with talented actors, but I was sorely disappointed with this film. I wanted to stop it halfway through, but I'm not one to quit something once I've started it. But all in all, it was a waste of my evening. I wasn't left wondering about any great dilemma in the world or pondering the intricacies of relationships. I was left bored and uninspired. Hope this helps. Expand
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