Married Life (2007)

Do you know what really goes on in the mind of the person with whom you sleep?

A wry blend of dark humor, romantic deception, and stylish melodrama—with an invigorating dash of suspense—Married Life is an unconventional fable for grown-ups about the irresistible power and utter madness of love. After decades of marital contentment, Harry (Chris Cooper) concludes that he must kill his wife Pat (Patricia Clarkson) because he loves her too much to let her suffer when he leaves her. Harry has fallen hard for the young and lovely Kay (Rachel McAdams), but his best friend Richard (Pierce Brosnan) wants to win Kay for himself. As Harry implements his maladroit plans for murdering his wife, the other characters are entangled with their own deceptions. Like Harry, they race towards their passions but trip over their scruples, seemingly well-intended towards all, but truthful to none.


Rachel as: Kay Nesbitt
Other cast: Chris Cooper (Harry Allen), Pierce Brosnan (Richard Langley), Patricia Clarkson (Pat Allen)
Alternative Title: Marriage
Directed by: Ira Sachs
Written by: Ira Sachs (Screenplay), Oren Moverman (Screenplay), John Bingham (Novel)
Production Status: Available on DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital HD
World Premiere: September 12, 2007 at Toronto International Film Festival
Theatrical Release: March 7, 2008 (US) | August 1, 2008 (UK)
Genre: Crime/Drama/Romance
Rated: PG-13 for some thematic elements and a scene of sexuality
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Run time: 91 min
Production budget: $12.000.000 (Estimated)
Box office: $1,507,990 (US) | $2,888,315 (Worldwide)
Producers: Steve Golin, Sidney Kimmel, Jawal Nga, Ira Sachs
Original Music by: Dickon Hinchliffe
Cinematography by: Peter Deming

Related Media

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Production Notes

For the role of Kay, Sachs needed an actress who would leave no doubt about her ability to enchant Harry and Richard. “The whole drama turns on Kay,” says Sachs. “She’s the star in the middle of the universe between these two men. When Kay walks into the restaurant in the opening of the movie, we have no trouble believing that these two men fall in love with her in an instant. Obviously Rachel McAdams has the loveliness, but more importantly, she has a certain mystery about her as well, something unattainable, and that’s what holds your interest. She’s very touching and sympathetic, but at the same time, she holds things back. There’s always something going on just under the surface”

Kay is a character who has suffered an incredible amount of loss—her father died when she was young, and she recently lost both her mother and her husband. “She’s spent a lot of time with herself, and I think she’s lost touch with reality a little bit,” says McAdams. “I think she’s drawn to Harry because they’re both a little bit broken, and need mending—and they comfort each other. Kay sees Harry as someone who can give her a home, security and love,” says Sachs, “And that means economic security, strength, consistency, and a kind of paternal comfort.”

Rachel McAdams, though, homes in on another side of Kay: “When Richard comes along, Kay starts to feel the wind in her hair and the leather seats in his car. He brings her out of her shell. Things would have been good for her and Harry, but when she meets Richard, it suddenly seems the world could be not only safe, but big.”

Continue to read production notes

Production Process

Early May 2006 it was reported that Rachel, Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper and Patricia Clarkson joined the cast of “Married Life”, with Ira Sachs directing. The movie was part of the Cannes Film market the same year. Principal photography began July 2006 and most of the movie was filmed by early September 2006. Rachel and Brosnan wrapped up their scenes before the break but the rest of the cast and crew returned to film the final bulk of the movie in October 2006.

Trivia & Facts

  • Rachel McAdams died her hair platinum blond for the movie by her own request.
  • The Working Title was “Marriage”.
  • Quotes from Rachel

    “I read the script and I thought, this is a very mature film. It’s not easy, but it’s well-crafted. The dichotomy of that, I thought, would be a great experiment. The characters were roughed-out enough that they’re interesting, but there was a lot to explore still.”
    On why she got involved (Globe and Mail)

    “It’s intense. It was a really fun color. It was fun to be platinum. I think we forget, because so many photographs are in black and white, that women were very risqué and, at the time, it was very usual to be that blonde.”
    On dying her hair platinum blond (Collider)

    “I think, in terms of the romance, Kay has already loved and lost the love of her life so she’s really in love for the second time around. It’s very different from her first love so that was kind of interesting to me.”
    On her character Kay (About)

    “I felt really inspired working with [director] Ira [Sachs]. He was very gentle and very kind and very supportive and I just felt reignited. Sometimes after a project you’re just completely spent but I was just ready to do more after this experience.”
    On working with director Ira Sachs (The Cinema Source)

    Quotes from Cast & Crew

    “My ears perked up when I heard she started in theater. I’ve worked with some wonderful American actors, but I’m afraid that for a piece like [Married Life], they usually cast from Britain, Australia, Canada. There’s a maturity in these women that the American film industry…well, look at what’s happening with the awards this year—Meryl is the only American up for best actress.”
    Chris Cooper, co-star (Elle Magazine)

    “Something’s happening behind the eyes that’s different from what she’s saying. There’s a whole life going on within the gaze. Yes! You fall completely in love with Rachel when you work with her. And I’m a full-grown gay man!”
    Ira Sachs, director (Elle Magazine)

    “Rachel is extremely ambitious with the emotional life of her characters. There’s also this emotional level that I think she has as an actress which is just beneath the surface. It’s something that the audience wants more of, and on that level, she really understands the nature of what it is to be a movie star, which is to provide something but, also, to hold something back.”
    Ira Sachs, director (Globe and Mail)

    “What I loved about Rachel McAdams, I knew her from Red Eye, that was the movie where I saw what I wanted to see and cast her based on that work, is that she has a certain mystery. I think she understand that the nature of being a movie star, and being a movie actress is as much what you show and is also what you don’t show. And she holds something back, which I think the audience, they crave in a way. They’re drawn to her because of her beauty, because of a certain kind of tenderness, and yet there’s something that they can’t quite get at. And I think that’s what keeps their interest and makes her so alluring.”
    Ira Sachs, director (Audio commentary DVD)

    Critical Reception

    “Rachel McAdams does a nice job of always seeming honest and sincere, even when she makes U-turns.”
    Roger Ebert (Sun Times)

    “McAdams and [Amy] Adams are dewy, vibrant stars whose popularity lies in the feminist independence they generously grant to the fictional women they play.”
    Lisa Schwarzbaum (EW)

    “There are four very good actors here giving high-IQ performances.”
    Peter Bradshaw (Guardian)

    “Clarkson and McAdams both project an outer vulnerability that belies the inner strength and clever conniving that goes on beneath the makeup and fancy clothes.”
    Leslie C. Halpern (Suit 101)

    The movie currently holds a 55% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and 65 score at Meta Critics

    Awards & Nominations

    ☆ 2009 AARP Movies for Grownups Awards for Best Movie for Grownups

    ★ = win ☆ = nomination | View entire list at IMDB

    Promotional Tour

    September 12th 2007 Toronto International Film Festival Premiere Images Videos
    March 5th 2008 New York Screening Images Videos
    March 7th 2008 New York Press Conference Images Videos

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