This film concerns two mysterious characters who meet on a Sunday in Queens. Madeleine the most unsettling creature of that name since "Vertigo" is a middle-aged, moderately successful ... See full summary »
This film concerns two mysterious characters who meet on a Sunday in Queens. Madeleine the most unsettling creature of that name since "Vertigo" is a middle-aged, moderately successful actress. Oliver/Matthew is either a homeless man or a famous film director or both. Madeleine hails him on the street as the latter, launching a bizarre chain of events that includes a conversation in a diner, a very unromantic sexual encounter, the arrival of Madeleine's odd husband and unsuspecting daughter, and a child's birthday party. The film also compassionately tracks the daily rounds of Oliver/Matthew's fellow denizens of the homeless shelter, some of whom will be recognizable to New York audiences. Written by
The film's gritty outer-borough images of Queens, familiar to any born and bred New Yorker, got my attention instantly. But it was the film's two principal characters--both middle-aged, both survivors of difficult lives--that sustained it. He, an out-of-work middle management type, is a victim of corporate downsizing now living in a homeless shelter among a multiethnic, multiracial horde of down-and-outers, where he struggles to maintain bare-minimum standards of privacy and personal hygiene--and where remnants of his middle-class life set him apart from his surroundings. She, a faded beauty and still-struggling actress, maintains an oddly genteel life in a rundown two-family house nearby, surrounded by weedy lots and shuttered factories. As they meet and proceed to remove their masks, a kind of love story--brief, impossible, and ultimately doomed, is ignited. This is a beautifully shot and acted film, and a deeply affecting one.
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