Perfect Sense is a bad, misleading, and laughable title. With the premise and that eye-rolling title, you’d expect it to be a shoddy romantic comedy, one about people coming to love each other when all else goes to hell. “When everyone’s losing their senses, we’re doing something that makes…Perfect Sense! Get it?” Yes, all around cringe-worthy, but, thankfully, the actual film is not.
Set in the magical and wet land of Glasgow, director David Mackenzie‘s chronicles both the multiple destructions and reconstructions of the world and a relationship. Michael (Ewan McGregor) is a charming and scruffy cook who’s lucky enough to have someone who looks like Susan, played by Eva Green, live right next door to his workplace. Both being the two good-looking people that they are, the obvious consequences come about: they fall in love, just as an epidemic begins to eat away at the world.
It’s no real shock in saying the epidemic is a subtext for the transitions that Michael and Susan go through. A relationship involves adaptation, as would an epidemic which diminishes our five sense: smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight. Mackenzie conveys the grand-scale world effects and the love and turmoil between Michael and Susan with a fair amount of subtlety.
Michael and Susan are self-proclaimed and proud assholes, meaning there’s not a large deal of difficult-to-bare bogus sentimentality. Even after the first time the couple sleep together, one of them is kicking the other out of bed, and not because they did anything wrong. They’re relatable cold individuals, not naive romantics.
By the end, they do grow to become romantics, and it’s earned. Green and McGregor are both lovable and seriously flawed as Michael and Susan. When their relationship is going smoothly, it’s impossible not to crack a smile. For the lesser joyous moments between the two, it’s uncomfortable and slightly heart-wrenching.
Mackenzie handles all the emotions with intimacy. As for the grand scale epidemic, it’s shown with a similar amount of realism. How would the world respond to losing their senses? Not as if they’re in a Roland Emmerich movie, but in the way you’d expect them to: by adapting. Despite the absurd premise, Perfect Sense is surprisingly grounded and, at times, poignant.
The Upside: Ewan McGregor and Eva Green are excellent; is effectively sweet and tragic; approaches human’s ability to adapt in both broad and small ways; features a suitably bittersweet ending.
The Downside: There’s a narration crosses the point of grating at times, despite its attempt to show there’s plenty of other beautiful and sad stories going on elsewhere in the world making for an admirable storytelling choice; one loss of sense scene is more comical than horrifying, but maybe that’s the point.
On The Side: Thank God there’s no major “We gotta find a cure!” subplot.