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Mary Kay Place
An artist (Moira Kelly) decides to put her troubles with men and evictions behind her by moving to a convent, so she can work for her keep. Is her art an opportunity for the sisters to save the convent from closure?
This isn't Shine or even Benny and Joon, and that's what makes it special. So many small aspects of this film make it work. It's more a film about relationships than high artand not essential relationships or even sexual ones. Henry's family is fringe for him. As he realizes, everyone is living his or her life, and he needs to live his without dependency. Cynthia is not the typical wholesome or bohemian or wealthy muse. She's not even particularly supportive of or interested in Henry's music. She has her own agendawhatever it may be. And she's not even some grand awakening for Henry. Moira Kelly doesn't let her sweet face soften the character. Jamie Harrold's fantastic, signature facial expressions are therealbeit in drunker manifestations. He blends considerate, angry, simple, brilliant, slovenly, and conflicted in a manner that's always believable and never excessive or cliché. He plays the quirky artist without a grandiose moment.
The little gestures from the characters make this film (and the characters themselves) valuable: the father's awkward arm-pat, the mother opening the honey jar, the brother's crude practical wisdom, the sister's bathroom pep talk that doesn't completely make sense. They give to Henry what they have to give. So does Cynthia. Henry gathers these up and gives his performancenot a sweaty, earth-shattering display in a velvety auditorium but a simple, lovely moment in a community theater. Those bits the people in his life give him are enough, as they have to be enough for everyone.
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