Aviva is thirteen, awkward and sensitive. Her mother Joyce is warm and loving, as is her father, Steve, a regular guy who does have a fierce temper from time to time. The film revolves around her family, friends and neighbors.
Jennifer Jason Leigh,
Stephen Adly Guirgis
A woman breaks up with her boyfriend, he thinks it's because he's fat. A man is unable to tell her next door neighbor he finds her sexually attractive. An old couple wants to split up, but they don't want to get a divorce. A therapist masturbates to teen magazines. An 11 year old kid is insecure about the fact that he hasn't cum yet. Office workers try to recall the face of a coworker who recently died. A woman is sure she has everything she could ever want. The lives of these individuals intertwine as they go about their lives in their own unique ways, engaging in acts society as a whole might find disturbing in a desperate search for human connection. Written by
Gradually, as I watched this movie, I became aware that I was witnessing some of the most powerful and honest acting, writing, and directing I had ever experienced. And I'm glad, because if this material had been attempted by anyone without extreme skill and sensitivity, it would have been a monstrous disaster. As it is, I don't think I would add it to my DVD collection. I don't know if I could watch it again, and I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable people seeing it on my shelf unless they knew me well. There are moments of great hope in this movie, when you think misery may finally give way to happiness. There are moments of great honesty, when a character says just what you'd expect them to say, and you realize how "safe" every other movie character has been in comparison. The humor that other reviews talk about is not the kind of humor that makes me laugh, personally. It's the dark, visceral humor of human weakness, meanness and even pathology. I still appreciate it for what it is, and it is used in a profound and delicate way. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who is willing to accept that life, and especially sexual life, is really much more complex and difficult than we usually admit. I recommend watching it alone, or with a friend or partner with whom you can discuss the most emotionally difficult topics. This movie will test you if you stick with it, but you'll know you saw something profound.
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