Michel Negroponte, a documentary filmmaker, meets Maggie one day in Central Park. Maggie claims to be married to the god Jupiter and the daughter of actor Robert Ryan. Michel gets to know ... See full summary »

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Maggie Cogan ...
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Katina Pendleton ...
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Michel Negroponte, a documentary filmmaker, meets Maggie one day in Central Park. Maggie claims to be married to the god Jupiter and the daughter of actor Robert Ryan. Michel gets to know Maggie over the next couple of years, and attempts to use her often outlandish stories as clues to reconstruct her past. Written by James Meek <james@oz.net>

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8 September 1995 (USA)  »

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The Tendency To Fantasize
21 October 2004 | by (Sebastian FL) – See all my reviews

When I first saw it on the DVD shelf at the library, I thought, "Oh, another bag lady movie." But the blurb on the case made it look different. And it is. Maggie is a compelling case study. "Mild schizophrenia" is what she says her diagnosis is. But that doesn't wrap it up. It's her smile, her cheerful reaction to her disastrous situation, her playful imaginings, that distinguish her. We might pass off her fantasy life, where she dwells in a world of demigods and movie stars, as a weakness revealing her inability to deal with her personal problems. But it turns out that there's an element of truth to her stories. Then, an uncanny incident of clairvoyance makes you wonder. Is she as crazy as she seems? Or is she in contact with some cosmic order of reality? Is her mythologizing of the people in her past an escapism or a reaching out to a more elevated essence of things? We all fantasize, if only while dreaming. Maggie's commitment to fantasy is scary to contemplate, but only different in intensity to what we all indulge in. Film maker Michel Negroponte approaches his subject sympathetically, with admirable control and lack of judgmentalism. His documentary is skillfully structured without calling attention to the techniques employed. He gives us Maggie, and she haunts us.


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