Certified Copy (2010)

Certified Copy (2010)

This mesmerizing romance from Abbas Kiarostami follows a couple whose relationship transforms over the course of a day



Belgium, France
English, French, Italian
Drama, Romance
Adrian Moore, Agathe Natanson, Andrea Laurenzi
106 min


This is Before Midnight’s more experimental cousin.

What it's about

A French shop owner takes a visiting English author around Tuscany, Italy, where they discuss the latter’s take on copies versus originals, that is until a shift occurs, and the conversation gives way to a more heated and personal debate.

The take

Certified Copy starts straightforward enough as it follows an unnamed shopkeeper (Juliette Binoche) and a writer (William Shimell) taking a stroll around picturesque Tuscany, debating the merits of authenticity and simplicity. They’re strangers flirting under the guise of an intellectual debate, and for a while, you think you’re watching a film like Before Sunrise, that is until a mysterious, almost magical, shift occurs, and suddenly, you’re witnessing something entirely different. For better or worse, director Abbas Kiarostami never makes it clear what happens, and that very mystery gives you a lot to think about. Are they pretending to be copies or is it the other way around? Neverending questions run through your head as you watch them banter, but whatever actually happens might be beside the point. At the moment, you get deeply felt, wonderfully rendered, as-real-as-can-be performances from Binoche and Shimell, and you can’t help but surrender.

What stands out

Tuscany is so gorgeous, it makes every millisecond of their stroll look like a framed painting. The cobblestones and ruined walls, the trees shading the afternoon sun to make Binoche, in particular, look like a glowing goddess (even, as it turns out, with smudged lipstick and tousled hair)—all these and more add to the film’s effortless charm.


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