Ann is married to John, who is having an affair with her sister Cynthia. Ann's a quiet type and unwilling to let herself go. When John's old friend, Graham, shows up, all their lives change. Graham likes to videotape interviews with women. Written by
The film was inspired by Steven Soderbergh's own failed relationship. "I drove the most important woman in my life to leave because I didn't want to be in the relationship but couldn't just say, 'I don't want to be in this,'" Soderbergh told Film Comment. "So I was very deceptive about how I got out of it. And then once I was out of it, I couldn't even allow it the dignity to die properly. I kept stringing it out and not letting it go and then I got involved with some other people." After, Soderbergh was able to reconnect with that person; "We were able to be friends," he noted. See more »
In most videos, the camera moves constantly during the interviews, as if hand-held. In almost every interview we see, Graham sets the camera down before starting their discussions. See more »
Garbage. All I've been thinking about all week is garbage. I mean, I just can't stop thinking about it.
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This film is dedicated to Ann Dollard 1956-1988 See more »
Exquisitely crafted, honest, minimalist and an almost perfect product
It is a film about relationships, dilemma, courage and more. What works in life and what does not. Honesty does and (crudely speaking) at a very basic level that is the message. At the very heart are the three protagonists who are stuck. The therapist is spectacularly wrong in his interpretation to the apparently frigid wife: 'If you think about it ...you are obsessed about things you have no control over'. But she demonstrates at the end that she did have the control. All she needed was a better, more 'intimate' therapist; a catalyst : Graham ; who ends up uncluttering the cheating sister in law's mind and forces the husband to confront his problems in the process. It is a remarkably optimistic film in its content and therefore perhaps slightly unrealistic.
It is a film about masterful use of contrasts; the two women and the two men could not have been more opposite in every possible respect. In a way Graham is also a perfect contrast to the imperfect Psychoanalyst. This helps the director bring out the message clearly.
The whole film is crafted in a minimalist way, flows smoothly and does not carry much 'garbage'! Music, camera and the narrative are almost perfect in that they are almost invisible. So are the actors, especially James Spader and to a large extent Andie MacDowell. Gallegher is probably less than perfect but very good nonetheless. Laura Giacomo portrays a rather difficult character really well. It treats the audience with respect as the message is subtle and very personal, as it should be. My only grievance is the last office scene involving Gallegher was probably unnecessary.
Sex and the videotapes are incidental to the storey and perhaps misnomers therefore.
It is like reading a rather well written short storey and I would recommend 'Days And Nights In The Forest' (perhaps slightly more realistic and understated than this film) by Satyajit Ray to those who have enjoyed this film.
My rating 8/10.
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