Directed by Victor Levin, “5 to 7” is a romantic comedy drama starring Anton Yelchin as Brian Bloom and Bérénice Marhole as Arielle Pierpoint.
This post includes a brief plot summary and an explanation about the ending of the film “5 to 7” (2014). If Arielle loved Brian, why didn’t she stay?
5 to 7 (2014) – Plot Summary
During a casual walk in New York City, a young writer (Brian Bloom) spots a beautiful woman (Arielle Pierpoint) smoking outside a hotel. Brian approaches Arielle and lights himself a cigarette too. They talk briefly and the young man learns that Arielle is French. Intrigued by her beauty, Brian agrees to meet Arielle again.
During their second meeting, Brian finds out that Arielle is a married woman with two kids. Her husband (Valéry) is a French diplomat. The man is a few years older than Arielle and together they have a “5 to 7” agreement. Basically, both spouses are allowed to have extramarital affairs as long as these take place during 5 p.m to 7 p.m.
At first, Brian is bit perplexed with Arielle and Valéry’s open marriage and he is hesitant about becoming Arielle’s lover. The idea of dating a married woman goes against Brian’s personal values, but he can’t stop thinking about Arielle. Therefore, the young writer goes to meet her once more and they initiate an affair.
Valéry becomes aware his wife’s new lover and decides to invite Brian for dinner. Confused, the young man agrees to have dinner with the Pierpoint family. At the French couple’s residence, Brian meets their kids, Jane (Valéry’s mistress) and other high-profile people.
Brian arranges a meeting between Arielle and his parents (Sam and Arlene). They both have different opinions about Arielle. Sam is not happy about his son dating a married woman, whereas Arlene seems to be more supportive.
After receiving many rejection letters for his work, Brian hits a breakthrough. A famous magazine “The New Yorker” has decided to award one of his short stories. In addition, the young writer has received an invitation from the magazine to attend its ceremony.
The event takes place outside the “5 to 7” time frame, meaning that Brian cannot have Arielle all to himself during the ceremony. Therefore, Arielle shows up with her husband and Jane. Meanwhile, Sam is furious about the situation because he deems it wrong and awkward.
During the after party, Jane introduces Brian to her boss (Galassi). The young writer’s short story has caught the publisher’s eye, who now wants to secure a publishing deal with him.
With the prize money that he has just received, Brian goes inside a luxury store to buy a ring: he wants to propose to Arielle. At first, she is hesitant about his proposal, but then Arielle changes her mind and agrees to marry Brian. The mother of two tells her lover to pack some belongings and meet her the next day at the hotel.
That same night, Valéry goes to Brian’s apartment and slaps him in the face. Arielle’s husband sees Brian’s proposal as a betrayal to the couple’s “5 to 7” agreement. Nonetheless, Valéry gives Brian a check and tells him to take care of Arielle and give her the life that she deserves.
As agreed, Brian goes to Arielle’s hotel and to his surprise: she is no longer there. Before leaving, Arielle wrote a letter to Brian explaining her reasons as to why she cannot leave her husband and their children. Despite of still having feelings for Brian, Arielle asks Ryan not to contact her again.
After the breakup, Brian sees his very first novel published by Galassi. A few years later, during a random stroll at the Guggenheim Museum, Brian runs into Arielle and her family. He introduces his own family (wife and baby) to the Pierpoints and informs Valéry that Jane also has a new life (married and with a son).
Before parting ways again, Arielle discretely shows Brian that she is wearing the ring that he gave to her many years ago.
5 to 7 (2014) – Ending Explained
Those who were expecting a happy ending from the film will definitely not get what they want. At the end, Arielle and Brian go their separate ways, which leave us with the following question: was their love real?
There is a quote in “5 to 7” that embodies the film’s essence very well. Brian himself said: “just because something doesn’t last forever, doesn’t mean its worth is diminished”.
The truth is: Arielle and Brian were not mean to be together. Both individuals have incredible chemistry together, but the foundation for their relationship was wrong from the very beginning. Given that Arielle is a married woman, their romance was never going to be anything more than just an affair. Brian was extremely naive to believe that it was going to blossom into something more serious.
Arielle is not the type of woman that leaves her husband. The woman knows that Valéry has a mistress (who is much younger than her) and yet she doesn’t seem to mind or even contemplate the idea of divorcing her husband.
When Arielle saw Brian, she saw an opportunity to “have some fun”. The woman cares about Brian’s well-being but she never truly ponder the possibility of leaving her well-connected husband for a young promising writer.
When Arielle accepted Brian’s proposal, that was a moment of “weakness”. Although, she likes the idea of sharing her life with Brian, Arielle is too much of a “coward” to actually go through with it. In the end, she drops the idea of divorcing Valéry and leaves Brian standing alone at the hotel.
Despite of what happened, Brian and Arielle’s feelings for each other could be considered “real”. The attraction was there, and they enjoyed each others’ company. Based on those criteria, one could say that those two were “in love”. However, Arielle and Brian never had to deal with their feelings being put to test. Time, for instance, changes a lot of things for couples.
If Arielle and Brian were in a long-term relationship would they have made it? Probably not. They ended their affair during the honeymoon phase. That’s the only reason why their “love” remained perfect.
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Arielle Pierpoint – Character Analysis
Although Brian is the leading character of “5 to 7”, Arielle is definitely a more interesting character.
So who is Arielle Pierpoint? She is French, married and mother of two. On the surface, she’s quite outgoing and owner of an exquisite beauty. Having said that, it’s no surprise that she caught Brian’s attention without doing much.
From her goodbye letter to Brian, it becomes evident that Arielle has her own insecurities which led to where she is now. Despite of being a beautiful woman, Arielle was afraid of ending up alone.
Arielle met Valéry during the end of her modelling days. Even though, she was still very young (25 years old), Arielle felt the need to settle and Valéry seemed like a “nice catch”. The man was financially stable and treated her really well. Marriage brought the stability that Arielle was looking for, but she wasn’t necessarily in love with her husband.
The mother of two feels a great amount of admiration and respect for Valéry, which she defines it as a different type of love. Although, Arielle cares deeply about Brian, she is not willing to let go the companionship and stability that she has with Valéry.
As an older woman, Arielle is more fearful about the future than her young lover (Brian). Why? The future hasn’t happened yet, which means that there are a lot of uncertainties and variables that one cannot control.
Reality sunk in, when Brian proposed to Arielle. For the very first time, she realizes that this young man standing in front of her might not love her forever or even find her attractive in the years to come. That’s why Arielle doesn’t want to marry Brian, she doesn’t want to trade her comfortable and certain life with Valéry to have an uncertain future with Brian.
Although, Arielle tries to mask her own insecurities through more altruistic motives such as not wanting to deprive Brian to experience life at its fullest, the truth is: the woman is afraid of the possibility of things not working out in the future. During the affair, they were madly into each other, but who’s to say things are going to remain unchanged?
What Arielle felt for Brian was a mix of infatuation and lust, which later on, she labels it as “love”. In her memories, Brian becomes sort of “perfect” because they “crystallized” their romance at its highest point. The ring that Arielle wears religiously is a memento of their “love”, it reminds her of the “beautiful moment” she once shared with Brian.
“5 to 7” is a thought provoking film with a nice dash of humour. The film challenges the viewers to revise their opinions on “open relationships”.
Despite of being able to guess the ending just a few minutes into the film, it was still very fun to watch Arielle and Brian’s affair blossom. How was I able to guess that they wouldn’t end up together? Very simple: how you get them is how you lose them.
If you’re a hopeless romantic, you’ll somehow want these two characters to end up together. However, if you’re a more realistic viewer, you’ll know in your heart that Arielle and Brian are not going to make it as an “official” couple.
Many of the supporting characters such as Arlene and Sam represent sort of the audience’s inner voice regarding the subject of extra-marital relationships / affairs. For instance, Arlene (Brian’s mother) she knows that it’s not ideal that her son is dating a married woman. However, Arlene accepts Arielle with open arms, because she’s happy that Brian has found someone that truly cares about him. That’s all that matters to Arlene, as a mother.
Then, we have Sam (Brian’s father) and he’s not one bit happy about it. Obviously, Sam doesn’t want his son to have a huge heartbreak from this woman. As a father and an older man he knows that things are not going to end well. Nonetheless, he also knows that there’s nothing he can do (or say) that will stop those two from seeing each other. So, as a father he can only hope that he son learns something from it.
Overall, “5 to 7” is a very noteworthy watch. Bérénice Marhole is indeed very charming as Arielle Pierpoint and Anton Yelchin really gave the viewers a convincing performance as a young man who is terribly infatuated with an older woman. Last but not least, the music on “5 to 7” is really the “cherry on top of the cake”, superb.