Originally released: 2011
Starring: Ewen McGregor, Eva Green
Directed by: David Mackenzie
Based on: the script by Kim Fupz Aakeson
It's the end of the world, but it's not happening in the way one would expect. Instead of fire and four horsemen, people are gradually losing their senses due to a strange and incurable disease. It starts with smell and burns through the other four senses from there. One of the people most effected by this epidemic is Michael, a chef at a fancy Glasgow restaurant. When he loses his sense of smell on the same night as Susan, a woman who lives across the alley from the restaurant, they form a bond. But will their relationship survive the loss of all their senses and the collapse of society?
I picked up Perfect Sense on a whim from the library. It was described as a "post-Apocalyptic love story," and if I expected anything it was for the film to be a little pretentious. But it had Ewen McGregor in it, so I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did! I have to say that I honestly loved this movie.
Ewen McGregor is adorable (when is he not?) as Michael, the nicest chef ever; and I loved the meet-cute scene between him and Susan and how their relationship developed over the course of the movie. The loss of her senses makes the normally prickly Susan vulnerable, and because of that she gives a nice guy like a Michael a chance she normally wouldn't. It was uber-romantic.
Even beyond that, though, I think this movie was so creative in how it reimagined "the end of the world." What does the world consist of but what you can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell? If you lose all of that, the world has effectively ceased to exist. To me Perfect Sense isn't just about what the world would be like without senses, but what the world would be like without art. No matter what, people need creativity: they need to be taken out of their own reality and transported into someone else's through art, and this is demonstrated strongly through Michael's job at the restaurant. When the movie starts, meals at the restaurant are about all the senses--texture, taste, smell, sound, and appearance. As people lose those senses, the restaurant simply relies more and more heavily on their remaining senses to fill in the gap of what they've lost. No matter what, they want to avoid what the restaurant owner calls "flour and fat," which is basically all people need in a diet in order to survive. But what they need to LIVE is beauty, music, creativity, and the connection with another human being that art provides. The sign that society has broken down completely is when people are shut away in their homes with nothing on TV but PSAs, as if there's nothing left to experience or share in the world.
Not that Perfect Sense is a perfect movie--there are segments full of stock footage that don't make any sense (Kim Jong Il, really? What does that have to do with anything?), and the whole "love is everything" message is a little heavy-handed. But I enjoyed the rest of the film so much that these flaws didn't really bother me. I thought Perfect Sense succeeded as both a romance and a very thoughtful and creative take a post-Apocalyptic story. If the premise sounds at all interesting to you, I highly recommend checking it out!