The Five Senses

Each of the five senses, touch, taste, hearing, sight, and smell, come out in characters in Jeremy Podeswa's (Eclipse) film The Five Senses. In the same manner as fellow Canadian Atom Egoyan's film The Sweet Hereafter, The Five Senses is a thoughtful look at the lives of five people trying to find deeper meaning within their lives.

Rona (Mary-Louise Parker, Bullets Over Broadway, The Client) is a cake decorator. She makes beautiful cakes, but they taste horrible. Roberto (Marco Leonardi, Texas Rangers, Like Water For Chocolate) is her Italian boyfriend. They met a year ago in Italy, and he flew out to be with her. Oddly enough, they cannot understand each other. Rona symbolizes taste. Her longtime friend Robert (Daniel MacIvor, Eclipse, Beefcake) symbolizes smell. He is a housecleaner with a highly developed sense of smell. He believes that he can smell true love, and is reconnecting with his past loves to try to find love.

Rona lives in the same building as Ruth (Gabrielle Rose, The Sweet Hereafter, Double Jeopardy), a massage therapist (touch). One of Ruth's clients is Anna (Molly Parker, Sunshine, Wonderland). Anna brings her toddler daughter to her session, and Ruth's daughter Rachel (Nadia Litz, The Mighty) takes her to the park. Rachel loses Anna's daughter, which affects every character in The Five Senses. Ruth is emotionally distant from her daughter, and is trying to reconcile. Rachel (sight) must deal with her inattention that caused the loss.

The most touching story belongs to Richard (Philippe Volter, Bleu), who is losing his sense of hearing. He is a doctor who works next to Ruth. Upon learning of his condition, he makes a list of everything he wants to hear before he goes dear. He gets an unlikely helper in Gail (Pascale Bussieres, Set Me Free), a hooker he frequents. She decides to help him on his quest. Of all the characters, Richard has the most to lose.

Podeswa connects all these stories with the disappearance of Anna Miller's child. Each person has some connection to the child, and in a way, the missing child symbolizes something missing in each person's life. Podwesa's script relies on the acting ability of the principals, and it succeeds. Podeswa favors thoughtful introspection over action. Volter does not say much, but conveys his feelings through his downcast eyes. Parker and MacIvor also add much needed levity to the proceedings. Although the ending leaves some issues unresolved hampers the overall effect, The Five Senses still manages to be a thought-provoking film.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Good.
1 hour, 45 minutes, Rated R for sexuality and language.

Back to Movies