When I heard I could go with our friend miss Tina Louise to a screening of the movie “Third Person” for Academy members only (yes, the ones who choose who gets the Oscars), I was really excited because this was a movie by Director Paul Haggis. I was a big fan of his movie “Crash” and was looking forward seeing his newest one: “Third Person”.


My thoughts on the cast beforehand and after watching the movie

Liam Neeson: even though I hate how he is trying to defend the horse carriage industry in NYC with stupid promo videos etc, and thankfully NYCLASS is not letting him get away with it,  I think he is a good actor and I usually love his movies.

Adrien Brody: Great acting, always.

Kim Basinger: Yes Kim. I think she should be acting in more roles.

Maria Bello: Coyote Ugly is way behind her. She plays it tough. Just like Kim I wish you would see more mature women like these 2 in movies.

Mila Kunis: Who doesn’t love Mila?

James Franco: And who doesn’t love James? Always so artsy.

Olivia Wilde: shows up naked! Great body.. but her character also has a dark secret…

Moran Atias: A very beautiful woman playing a pretty Albanian gypsy… you might remember her from the movie Crash. I read somewhere she did not shower for 4 months to prepare for this role. She probably didn’t also brush her teeth then either.

About the movie

The movie is about 2 hours and 17 minutes. If you have seen the movie “Crash”, you know that Paul Haggis likes to tell different story lines and mold them together, in such a great way that he got an Oscar for it. “Third Person” is about relationships. Liam Neeson plays Michael, who is a writer, on a verge of a breakup with his wife Elaine (Basinger). He has an affair with Anna (Wilde) and they are in Paris. His writing is not going so well lately. He is trying to deal with things that happened in his own life, which he brings back into his characters of his newest book. He does everything for a good story, he uses all inspiration that he finds in his real life. As all the separate stories develop, you start to notice they are all connected to one… What is real and what is not?

There seem to be a few stories going on:

– Michael, Elaine & Anna and her dark secret…

– James Franco (Rick) & Mila Kunis (Julia) are in a custody battle over their son, as Mila is accused of trying to kill their son. Maria Bello (Theresa is  Julia’s attorney, and she is also linked to Adrien Brody (Scott):

– Adrien Brody (Scott) sits in a bar in Rome, Bar Americano, when the beautiful Moran Atias (Monika) walks in and sits next to him and orders limoncello.  He immediately has a crush on her, but if that was a smart thing to do? Is she trying to con him or not…

One intense scene I remember

One particular scene between Rick (James Franco) and Julia (Mila Kunis) was so intense to watch I started crying my eyes out. for some reason this movie got to me so much emotionally, don’t know why.  I couldn’t sleep at night. This was mostly because of that you get sucked into these characters, and their emotions. The movie is a game of the mind.. you are trying to continuously figure out what’s going on. All Actors did a terrific job, and I really consider this movie one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. And that says a lot because I usually only like documentaries or movies about true stories.

Locations and timeline of the movie

Director Paul Haggis told a bit about the movie after the movie was finished. He said the writing process was about 2 1/2 years, and all together the movie took about 5 1/2 years from start to finish. He gets his inspiration from other people’s stories; he is always curious to learn about the backstory of people. He likes a movie when it brings up questions, and people afterwards have to discuss it, and share their thoughts on what happened. I loved it when he told the audience the little clues that he put in the movie. It makes me want to watch it again so I can see them all, as I saw most, but missed a few :) They filmed the whole movie in Rome as that was financially the best way to do it. All actors did not get paid (much) and the movie was made with a reasonably small budget. The scenes in Paris were also filmed in Rome. And in 1 day he filmed a few exterior shots in New York City, but even the scenes in New York City were filmed on locations in Rome.

Q & A with audience

The funny story of the night was when Paul Haggis told the audience how he did a scene with Mila Kunis hailing a cab in New York City, that was actually filmed in Rome. He basically ordered NY yellow cabs from Eastern Europe to come in for filming. These were the only taxicabs in all of Europe, and they were old ones too. He then tried to have the “extras” in the movie hail a cab in the background like a true New Yorker, but they did not know how to hail a cab. So he had to show them how you do it like a true New Yorker. But then when he called for “action” it turned out all the extras did the same thing at the same time, waving their hands up in the air in the same way, which made it seem more like a choreographed flash mob instead of a real scene in New York City. Everybody in the audience laughed when he told this story and showed how they did it. So in the end Paul Haggis let all the extras be in the back and he did the hailing a cab himself. You can therefore see him in the movie  as well for a split second.

One remark I have is that the American movie poster was a bit boring. If the movie poster depicted more who played in it, the actors, the places, it would catch people’s attention way sooner. These posters I found online are better I think. I don’t know what the Asian language on it means, so I hope it is positive, otherwise tell me ;)

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I don’t understand why some critics bashed this movie. I thought it was smart and caught my attention for 2 + hours, that time went by like nothing. I like a movie that is a puzzle. If you want a chewed out plain movie script which is predictable, this is not your movie. If you like brain teasing movies, I  would definitely recommend to watch this movie in a theater!

Love, Lonneke

First published on June 20th 2014, updated in 2019