Zoe, directed by Drake Doremus, had fleeting moments of genuine loveliness, but in large part was a film that felt distant and empty. In what feels like a wasted opportunity for an endearing, heartfelt film, Zoe slowly saw me losing engagement and interest over the course of its runtime. I’ll be bouncing back and forth in this review between the few things that I enjoyed and the larger, more prominent issues that resulted in a film I’m disappointed in. Let’s not waste anymore time on this intro and instead get into the review.
Cole – played by Ewan McGregor – embarks on a relationship with Zoe – played by Léa Seydoux – and everything seems perfect. But a revelation about one of them will send their relationship spiralling towards an outcome that neither truly want.
Zoe was a film that in the beginning I was eager to fall deeper into. The relationship that slowly forms Between Cole and Zoe was one that I wanted to see develop; was one that I saw the possibility for a genuinely lovely story coming from.
My want to care and invest was made all the easier with the warm colour palette; the lighting that created an inviting environment, and the locations that seemed wonderfully inviting. The intimate framing of scenes also helped my connection to Zoe and Cole. Much seemed to be being done to create an experience that you’d want to settle into and enjoy; you knew there’d be some bumps in the road but that there was a beautiful new relationship forming and being a part of the story would be a fulfilling one.
There felt to be genuine emotion coursing through this film and that in turn formed genuine emotions within me. There was a particular moment between Zoe and Cole that I distinctively remember it lighting a warming emotional response in me and I was excited for what was to come with the film. Revelations in the plot may have been predictable and some of the dialogue may have felt a little stinted, but that didn’t matter much to me.
It was the genuine moments in the beginning; the moments where it felt like McGregor and Seydoux were improvising scenes and creating a connection between the characters that felt real and felt moving. There was a noticeable chemistry between the actors and that in turn fed into the relationship between the characters. The slight nagging issues felt like whispers compared to the loveliness of the relationship on-screen.
But, sadly, it didn’t last. Zoe was a film that soon began to feel like it was drifting away from me. It began to feel directionless and the once beautiful, warm film, became a cold, distant experience that didn’t create any meaningful responses and that I didn’t want to connect with anymore. The dialogue that was mildly problematic, became increasingly worse; it was cold and had no meaning behind it. The entire tone of the film shifted; it became solemn and depressing.
It was as if the film had either lost or forgotten what its purpose was. It began to wander aimlessly from scene to scene, having conversations between characters that didn’t seem to achieve anything and focus on areas of the plot that only put more of a distance between myself and it. The film became empty, and soon, I felt… nothing.
It feels like a waste. There was something beautiful in Zoe. There were two actors who had found the voices of their characters; had found a connection with them. I wanted it to explore the areas in which it was circling, but ultimately, it seemed to not know how to.
There was the chance to explore some themes that would have created interesting dilemmas, or questions that you’d be left pondering. But there’s a lack of anything substantial. Zoe is a film that simply (sadly) drifts away, never to be thought of again.
There’s not much else to say about Zoe. It’s a film that had an idea; it had a solid collection of people in front of, and behind the camera, but the overall execution just wasn’t there. It’s a film I won’t think about much (if at all) once this review has gone up and that’s a shame because I always hope for a film to make some sort of impact (whether good or bad) but for there to be nothing at all is… sad.
I cannot recommend, Zoe. You won’t gain anything from this film. I can’t think of anything significant that would make it worth your time. I don’t like to say such a thing, but this is a film you can pass by and not ever feel like you’ve missed out on something worth your time.
What are your thoughts on Zoe and my review of it? Feel free to let me know in the comments section down below. Liked what you read? Please consider following both/either my blog and my Twitter – @GavinsRamblings – and help me grow what I’m doing here. I want to finish now by offering you my thanks for dedicating some of your time to reading my review, I appreciate it so much. Thanks and have a great day!
2 thoughts on “Review – Zoe”
I also wasn’t the biggest fan of the film, but at least it’s better than Doremus’ previous film “Newness”. I agree with you that it was just an idea, a fun concept, but that the execution was severely lacking. The soundtrack was certainly the best thing the film had to offer.
Yeah, the soundtrack was wonderful. Haven’t seen ‘Newness’ and can’t say I’m eager to see it after this film. Thanks for reading my review, I always appreciate it!