Muscle by Heidi Miami Marshall

A woman struggles to care for her dying husband. Then, she meets the other girl.

A wife takes care of her dying husband. But long before he became terminally ill, the relationship began falling apart — which makes this new period in their lives much more difficult.

Soon she has to make an agonizing choice: will she live for herself, or live for him?

The plot is meditatively paced and the directing and camerawork are thoughtful and sensitive. But the details shown are rich with subtext, showing the dying remains of a life — both of the husband, and the wife’s ambivalent feelings.

The film is sparse with dialogue, but still is rich with emotion, thanks to evocative performances, especially by its central female performances.

Many films chronicle the end of a relationship, but “Muscle” finds a unique angle and fresh take on an emotionally compromised situation, with all its painful inner conflicts.

Understated yet effective, the film’s pauses and silences are eloquent in examining just what “until death do us part” really means — and the way commitments make, shape and break us.

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