Brian Bloom (Anton Yelchin), a struggling 24-year-old writer in New York City, meets a 33-year-old French woman named Arielle Pierpoint (Bérénice Marlohe). They feel powerfully attracted to one another. After their second meeting, Arielle reveals that she is married to a diplomat, Valéry (Lambert Wilson), and they have two young children. Arielle and Valéry have an agreement that each is permitted to have extramarital affairs as long as they are limited to the time between 5 and 7 p.m. on weeknights. Brian is perplexed at this information and tells Arielle that he cannot continue the relationship with her, believing it is an unethical affair. Arielle says that, should he change his mind, she will continue to smoke on Fridays at the same place they met.
After three weeks Brian decides to meet again with Arielle. She gives him a hotel key and in the evening at the hotel room they consummate their relationship. They begin to meet regularly at the same hotel room in the evenings. Valéry, who is aware of Brian's affair with Arielle, approaches him on the street and invites Brian to his house for dinner. At dinner, Brian meets Arielle and Valéry's children and is introduced to Valéry's lover, a 25-year-old editor named Jane (Olivia Thirlby). Arielle later meets Brian's parents, Sam (Frank Langella) and Arlene (Glenn Close). Upon learning that Arielle is a married mother of two, Sam tells Brian that he disapproves of the relationship, while Arlene accepts that they love each other despite the circumstances. When Brian is invited to a New Yorker ceremony to receive an award for one of his short stories, he is joined by Arielle, Valéry, Jane, and his parents. Jane tells Brian that her boss Galassi (Eric Stoltz), a publisher, has read his story and wants Brian to write a novel.
Brian meets Arielle at the hotel and asks her to marry him, giving her a ring. She rejects his proposal and tells him that their feelings have always been different due to their age difference. Brian insists that he is truly in love with her, and Arielle reluctantly accepts his proposal, telling him to meet her the next day at the hotel. Valéry shows up at Brian's apartment that night; he slaps Brian and expresses anger at Brian's betrayal of the rules and boundaries of an open marriage. He then gives Brian a check for $250,000 for "expenses" and leaves. The next day, the hotel doorman gives Brian a letter from Arielle in which she explains that although she loves him deeply, she cannot leave her husband and children, and asks him not to contact her again.
Jane later ends her relationship with Valéry because it feels like a betrayal of her friendship with Brian, and Brian's first novel is published by Galassi. After some years, Brian is walking down the street with his wife, Kiva (Jocelyn DeBoer), and their baby son. They run into Arielle, Valéry and their now-teenage children outside the Guggenheim. Valéry asks about Jane, and Brian tells him that she is married with a son. Arielle shows Brian subtly that she still wears the ring he gave to her before they part again.Anton Yelchin as Brian BloomBérénice Marlohe as Arielle PierpontOlivia Thirlby as Jane HastingsLambert Wilson as Valéry PierpontFrank Langella as Sam BloomGlenn Close as Arlene BloomEric Stoltz as Jonathan GalassiJocelyn DeBoer as Kiva Bloom
The story of 5 to 7 was inspired by a couple whom writer-director Victor Levin met in France in 1987. The couple had an open marriage; each spouse had an extramarital lover and, according to Levin, "they were all terribly civilized with the arrangement". After meeting the couple, Levin "filed away" the idea until he could work out how to incorporate it into a larger story. He conceived the complete plot after his children's birth in the early 2000s. Levin wrote the first draft of the film in March 2007. His agent at William Morris Endeavor introduced him to Julie Lynn, who read the script and agreed to produce it. In 2011, Lynn partnered with Bonnie Curtis, who also became a producer on the film. The project remained in development for seven years due to difficulties in finding appropriately "box office-eligible" actors whose schedules lined up. The budget was primarily financed by Demarest Films, with additional funding from private investors including Sam Englebardt, David Greathouse and Bill Johnson.
Levin approached Anton Yelchin to star in 5 to 7 after seeing the actor's performance in the 2011 film Like Crazy. He wrote Yelchin a "beseeching" letter asking him to accept the role; Yelchin never received the letter but nevertheless agreed to star in the film. In 2012, it was announced that Diane Kruger had been cast as Yelchin's lover, but she was later replaced by Bérénice Marlohe. Glenn Close was cast through Curtis and Lynn, who had produced Close's 2011 film Albert Nobbs and remained close friends with her. The film also features cameo appearances from several prominent New Yorkers: civil rights activist Julian Bond, chef Daniel Boulud, New York Philharmonic conductor Alan Gilbert and The New Yorker editor David Remnick.
Filming was originally scheduled to begin in February 2013, but was delayed until May 2013. The film was shot by cinematographer Arnaud Potier on an Arri Alexa camera in CinemaScope widescreen format. Levin and Potier decided to use minimalistic wide shots and long takes to avoid "reminding the audience that it's a movie" with unnecessary cuts. Filming mainly took place on the Upper East Side of New York City. Specific filming locations included the Carlyle Hotel, the St. Regis Hotel, The Guggenheim, Fifth Avenue, Grand Army Plaza, Le Charlot restaurant and Crawford Doyle Booksellers. The only major location used outside of the Upper East Side was Brian's apartment, which was filmed on 30th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Shots of plaques on Central Park benches are interspersed throughout the film; Levin sent a group of interns to find interesting inscriptions on the benches in Central Park and selected about thirty that were filmed on the last day of shooting. The crew adopted a bench of their own whose plaque is shown at the end of the film's credits.
Levin initially planned to use a jazz soundtrack but found classical music more apt after completing the filming. He hired Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans to compose the film's score, which consisted of two main melodies, one a waltz and the other a more classical theme.
5 to 7 was premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 19, 2014, and went on to be screened at the Traverse City Film Festival, Savannah Film Festival, Denver Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Cinequest Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, Carmel International Film Festival, Virginia Film Festival Boulder International Film Festival, and Bermuda International Film Festival. It won the Audience Award for Best American Film at the Traverse City Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Narrative Feature at the Bermuda International Film Festival.
IFC Films acquired the United States distribution rights to the film in June 2014. It was released theatrically on April 3, 2015 in New York and Los Angeles, grossing $18,006 from two locations on its opening weekend. It later expanded to 27 theaters and earned a total of $162,685 from six weeks in American theaters. Outside the United States, the film was most successful in Mexico (where it grossed $259,757) and Russia (where it grossed $120,909); it earned a total of $511,894 internationally, making a total worldwide gross of $674,579.
On the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, 5 to 7 holds a 70% approval rating based on 50 reviews with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site's consensus states: "5 to 7 too often settles for rom-com clichés, but they're offset by its charming stars, sensitive direction, and a deceptively smart screenplay." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 52 out of 100 based on reviews from 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle enjoyed the film and praised Marlohe's performance in particular. He felt that 5 to 7 was "in that rare category of romantic drama that seems aimed for a male audience", comparing Yelchin's role to that of Kristen Stewart in The Twilight Saga. Variety critic Peter Debruge commended Levin for his "earnest, heart-on-his-sleeve approach", referring to the film as "courageously sentimental in an age of irony". He also highlighted the "elegant, traditional" classical score and minimalist cinematography. John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter opined that 5 to 7 was "sumptuous and romantic in an attractively old-fashioned way" despite its clichéd plot devices. He praised Potier's "dreamily hazy" cinematography and Yelchin's performance. The Los Angeles Times' Betsy Sharkey found the film "charm[ing]" in spite of what it lacked in plot and character development. She credited the cinematography, music, production design and costumes with giving the film "a kind of gauzy loveliness". Peter Keough, who awarded the film 2.5 out of 4 stars for The Boston Globe, felt that the film relied on stereotypes and cliché but nevertheless offered "refreshing innovations" to the romance genre. He praised Marlohe's performance and the comic relief provided by "the oddly but perfectly cast Glenn Close and Frank Langella".
The New York Times' chief film critic Manohla Dargis found the plot of 5 to 7 to be inauthentic and the characters "unpersuasive". She criticized Marlohe's "opaque, physically stiff" performance and the similarities of the film to Woody Allen's Manhattan-based works. The Washington Post's Ann Hornaday also felt that the film lacked authenticity, writing that it "feels more constructed than lived". She praised Yelchin's "modest, endearing lead performance" but found Arielle's character underdeveloped. Rodrigo Perez of The Playlist referred to 5 to 7 as "groan-worthy", "sappy and painfully jejune." He found the premise implausible and melodramatic and Brian's character uninteresting and two-dimensional, a stand-in for "an adolescent male fantasy". The Village Voice's Amy Nicholson also felt that Brian was an unsympathetic character and that his relationship with Arielle was not believable. She criticized the film's reliance on national stereotypes and the "artistic-martyr trope".