RATING |

'You're so good together. What happened?"

In Eden, a gloomy Irish marital portrait, that question haunts Breda Farrell (Eileen Walsh). Her relationship with her husband, Billy (Aiden Kelly), a telephone lineman, has turned empty and suffocatingly sad: The couple have a boy and a girl, a modest but comfortable house in a nice town, and a 10th anniversary that is imminent.

But when Billy creeps home after a night at the pub, Breda turns away and pretends to sleep - better that than to face the cold humiliation of a partner with no interest in making love.

Directed by Declan Recks and written by Eugene O'Brien, adapting his own play, Eden tracks Breda and Billy as the big anniversary looms. She's making a dress that she hopes will rekindle some sexual desire, he's obsessing about a pretty young thing (Sarah Greene), mistaking her friendly chatter for something more.

Although its low-key realism is admirable, Eden doesn't really work: the long silences, the aching stares, the telling props, Breda's quivering blues, Billy's drunkenness, his distraction. There might as well be a sign stuck to the Farrells' front door: Dysfunctional family lives here.

The not-so-subtle title doesn't help any either, as director Recks pans the green countryside, its cliffs and canals, while the mister and missus mope around, each in a bleak private world.

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Contact movie critic Steven Rea
at 215-854-5629 or srea@phillynews.com. Read his blog, "On Movies Online," at http://go.philly.com/onmovies.