Certified Copy is a 2010 film by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. Starring Juliette Binoche and William Shimell, the film won the Best Actress award and was nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
James Miller has just released a book entitled Copie Conforme, about our perceptions on art versus copies of art. Is the genuine article really any more or less powerful on our emotions than a reproduction of the original? What if you thought for years that you had been viewing an original and then found out later it was a copy? Miller begins discussing some of these issues from his book at a reading in a small town in Italy.
We quickly transition over to an unnamed woman who is at the reading and then must leave with her son. However, she meets up with Mr. Miller later and has agreed to be his guide for the day - to show him around the Italian countryside - until his train leaves later that night. The two proceed to spend the afternoon together, visiting different points of interest in the region. But it's what happens during their time together that is the crux of the story. They begin by chatting fairly amicably, but little by little the discussions become more personal, pointed, and sometimes antagonistic. At the start of their journey they are behaving as author and guide, but later begin acting as husband and wife.
The pair might be acting the part. Or they might have been husband and wife all along and it's just not obivous at first; we're not really sure. Their discussions - and arguments - get more specific, and they either reveal or create a longer history between them, and lament how they have grown distant over time.
The unknown relationship of the couple is either a mystery or a trick, but either way the film keeps relating it back to art. Is their relationship the real thing, or is it a mere copy of the real thing? Throughout their journey, the duo visit and argue about different works of art. And through the afternoon they keep running into couples at different stages of their relationship - some newlyweds and some more elderly. Their interaction with and differing opinions on the merits of these works of art or the genuine happiness of the couples highlights their different and differing approaches to love and relationship.