There’s a lot of psychoanalysis in “Ana, Mon Amour,” the kind that ensures audiences understand the roots of certain behavior even though it’s fairly obvious without the shrink spelling it all out.
Chronicling the rocky relationship between a woman prone to sudden panic attacks and the man determined to stick by her, the film has a strong start but as it progresses, both characters make unconvincing personality about-faces even before they’ve lost the attractions they might once have had.
Expectedly strong lensing and top-notch performances can’t prevent “Ana” from feeling like a long slog, which doesn’t help its international distribution prospects.
Equally problematic is the suddenness with which Ana is cured of her panic attacks, and the way Toma leaps from supportive presence to jealous husband.
The only reason one can guess why he fell in love with her is because he subliminally needed someone to manage, but that doesn’t make for a compelling union for audiences.
In truth, it’s not always easy to tell what Netzer wants audiences to take away from these scenes: Are we meant to buy the psychiatrist’s interpretations, or are we supposed to question them? Perhaps it would have been more clear if the film maintained a proper chronology.
Instead, coherence is lost when the main way to guess where a scene is in time is by pondering Toma’s receding hair.Suddenly Ana feels sick and dizzy, frantically saying she forgot her pills.Toma has her lie down, soothing her panic with his calmness and comforting hands.Religion is added to the mix when Toma goes to confession after years away from the church, and in one of the film’s best scenes, talks about his concerns to a priest (Vlad Ivanov, guaranteed to improve every film he’s in).Their exchange — or rather, the delightful free flow of relatively wise advice coming from the priest’s mouth — is a highlight, but really doesn’t fit with the rest of the story.Soon thereafter Ana brings Toma home to meet her Moldavian bumpkin mother (Tania Popa) and stepfather Igor (Igor Caras Romanov), the latter an unpleasant philistine who was still sleeping next to Ana and bathing her even when she was 14. 1: Ana’s stepfather is a perv, and in the Freudian world these people inhabit, his inappropriate behavior (Ana denies he ever molested her) is one of the reasons why she now gets panic attacks.