Lianna and her husband Dick have been married for a few years but the marriage isn't a happy one, since Dick treats her with arrogance. One day Lianna falls in love - with Ruth, a teacher. The people who know them act different: her husband with feelings of sexual betrayal, her children with curiosity and Lianna's friends with ambivalence. Written by
The opening credits credit only the production company and the crew members. The cast is not credited until the end credits. The title of the film, LIANNA, appears as the last title card after John Sayles is credited as writer, producer, director and editor. See more »
Lianna (Rachel Griffiths) is unhappily married to a cheating husband (John De Vries) and has two children. She falls for a female teacher (Jane Hallaren) and realizes she's a lesbian. She starts an affair with her and realizes she can't stay with her husband...she must find her own identity as a lesbian.
It's hard to believe this was made in 1983. Definitely a ground breaker. I remember it played forever in a small art house cinema in Cambridge MA. I didn't see it back then but I'm glad I got the chance. BTW, it was beautifully restored in 2003 and that's the print I saw. John Sayles wrote and directed the film and, like all his films, it has incredible dialogue and a believable script. This is probably the first realistic film to show a woman coming to grips with her sexual orientation--and embracing it completely. It does show the hardships she goes through adjusting to a life on her own and the relationship problems--but that's very true to life. The trip to a lesbian bar was surprising in a film this old. The acting by the leads is superb--Griffiths is perfect and Hallaren matches her. De Vries is good also but he's stuck with a 1 dimensional villain role. The supporting roles are somewhat amateurish--but they don't lessen the film. In fact it makes it seem even more realistic! The sex scenes are explicit but tasteful.
It's hard to believe a man wrote and directed such a sensitive portrayal of a woman. My only complaint is that it's a bit overlong--but this still should be seen. A groundbreaking and very honest film. An 8 all the way.
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