When adultery becomes, or is seen to be, a dead end; when it is an unfortunate salve; the appeal and hard responsibility of family—this and more is what the John Curran film, We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2004), is about. It revolves around some Oregon people’s marriages (two of them) and inexorable adultery.

With vivid flavor Laura Dern enacts Terry, the picture’s only sympathetic adult character. Mark Ruffalo is Jack, Terry’s English-teaching husband, said by critic Stephanie Zacharek to be “too shapeless to evoke either our anger or our pity.” To me this doesn’t matter: it’s enough that we don’t approve of naughty Jack until, well, we do, in the film’s moving last minutes. Ruffalo’s performance is incisive.

Naomi Watts and Peter Krause are also in this movie adapted from two Andre Dubus stories. The sex shots are tedious, but Larry Gross deserves credit for the screenplay.