Una (2016)

After watching Una, I figured that I might actually have a dislike for films that have been converted from stage plays. The only other film I remember that’s like this is Fences, by Denzel Washington. The thing about these films is that they tend to stay on a same scene for a really long time. Which makes sense if you’re watching a play because you’re confined to the stage, but WHY do they need to do this for the film? You have all the freedom to move around but you choose to stay in one place! I just don’t get it.

Okay, anyway, that aside.

The reason I felt compelled to watch Una was because of its premise. After watching films like Leon, American Beauty, and meeting teachers who married their students (real life btw), I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of a really young girl being in a relationship with an older man. And also, on another twisted end of the spectrum, I’m genuinely curious about cases regarding pedophiles. I can’t explain why, but I find documentaries/films like Spotlight very interesting (though I’m not proud of it).

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The question at the back of my mind was this: Is it really possible for a grown man to be in a genuine relationship with a young girl, not out of pedophilia but instead because he really loved her for who she was as a person?

Una felt a lot like a debate regarding that question, and while the film addressed both sides of the argument, it doesn’t try too hard to convince you into taking a side at the end of it. So if you’re the kind who strongly dislikes movies with vague endings, I’d think you would be disappointed by the end of this film. However if you’re like me, just a curious bug figuring out what to feel about this social issue, then this film might help you find out what your tolerances/boundaries are.

I thought Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn both performed well with honest interpretations of their characters, transforming them into very realistic characters. This film was very dark in its tone, and I might have felt a little depressed by the end of it, which might not entirely be a bad thing. Then again, the pace of this film is a little slow at times, and the back-and-forth quarreling between the lead characters did take a toll on me midway. It got a little exhausting and pointless. I’m gonna circle this part back to my point about this film being more like a stage play at times, which certainly didn’t help because I was getting tired by the dialogue and the director still wouldn’t change the scene to somewhere else!

Would I recommend this film? Well, only if you think the premise is interesting to begin with. Otherwise, I don’t think there’s much you’d enjoy from watching this film. Oh yes, and of course, if you’re a fan of Rooney Mara like I am, then you’d have another reason to enjoy this film. I guess I kind of liked Una, I just don’t think most people might.