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‘Face of Love’ looks back, sees double

Ed Harris and Annette Bening in a scene from “The Face of Love.”
Ed Harris and Annette Bening in a scene from “The Face of Love.”Dale Robinette /IFC FILMS

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The Face of Love” is the kind of movie they don’t make much anymore, at least for theatrical distribution — a romantic melodrama aimed at female audiences, elegantly appointed and packed with emotional kinks. In the old days it might have starred Bette Davis or Joan Crawford or even Gene Tierney, the leading lady of 1945’s unjustly neglected psycho-wife classic “Leave Her to Heaven.”

Instead, we have Annette Bening, a supremely talented actress who knows how to carve this sort of cheese with nuance and conviction. The result, in theaters starting today and available on demand, isn’t a great movie, but it is an excellent guilty pleasure. To paraphrase a line from “Leave Her to Heaven”: There’s nothing wrong with Nikki. She just loves her dead husband too much.

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