THE WAIT is the story of Anna (Juliette Binoche), a mother who has invited her son’s girlfriend Jeanne (Lou de Laâge) to the family home in Sicily for Easter. Specifically, Anna has asked that Jeanne come some days ahead of time and wait with her for her son to arrive. Before Jeanne even walks in the door, something becomes painfully clear to us in the audience – Anna’s son has died. Soon after, something else becomes painfully clear – she hasn’t told Jeanne.

Days go by. The two women talk…they eat…they grow close…and they wait.

The director of this film, Piero Messina, has served as assistant director to Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino, and if there’s one thing THE WAIT demonstrates is that the man paid close attention to Sorrentino’s ability to craft a visual. There are shots in this movie that are pieces of art unto themselves – whole sequences that underline our fascination with youth, our incomprehension of death, and our deep desire for inner peace. Sometimes it comes by way of surrounding ourselves with hordes of people, sometimes it’s by bolting the door and turning off all the lights.

Giving Messina’s work that much more muscle is the chemistry between Binoche and de Laâge. Their relationship is a tricky one; one that’s built on a lie, and constantly in-flux. There’s a great deal of complexity in the way de Laâge sometimes seems drawn to Binoche, and sometimes seems perplexed. On the other side, it’s amazing to see Binoche treat de Laâge as a surrogate daughter sometimes, and other times an old friend.

What’s truly amazing, is that the lynchpin of their fluctuating relationship is a person that is always off-screen. The singularity that brings them together is one great unknown.

There is a great deal of sensory imagery in THE WAIT – many stunning scenes filled with sights and sounds that want us to feel what is to be on this Sicilian property, and walk through those massive rooms. Perhaps that’s because a situation like Anna’s would leave one feeling so numb, that to feel anything would be a great relief. To taste a gulp of wine or feel the warmth of sunshine would be salvation to a grieving mother…so THE WAIT wants to put us in a position to experience it to the fullest.

THE WAIT is a movie about the deep desire for peace in the face of loss. When we lose someone we love, we all so dearly want – as Jeanne puts it – “to sleep pristinely”.  We want to be able to walk through life on our own terms, and not be affected by every glance and glimmer. Sometimes that involves being improper, and even a tad selfish. But perhaps by being selfish, we can spare others our pain…and in a strange way help them find peace of their own.