6.0/10
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61 user 41 critic

Guinevere (1999)

A young girl from an affluent family rebels and becomes involved with a much older photographer.

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2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Billie
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Walter
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Patty
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Zack
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Susan Sloane
Sharon McNight ...
Leslie (as Sharon Mcnight)
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Ed
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Jay
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Cindy
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Alan Sloane
Oded Gross ...
Gary
Grace Una ...
April
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Storyline

Connie, an aging Bohemian photographer, meets mousy Harper, headed for Harvard Law from a high-powered San Francisco family, and immediately sees her beauty. He also guesses she has talent and invites her to be his pupil and share his bed. He's Alfred Stieglitz, she's Georgia O'Keefe, and he calls her his Guinevere. When she realizes she's the latest Guinevere in a string of ingenues, she bolts, only to return, sick of her family. She's blossoming, reading, learning, but hasn't yet taken her first photograph when he tells her they're going to L.A., broke, him drinking too much, to sell some photographs. On the trip, she finally snaps the shutter; so does her awe and dependence. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Everything looks better in close-up. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and sexuality | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

12 November 1999 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

A Lente do Desejo  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$54,145 (USA) (26 September 1999)

Gross:

$614,202 (USA) (7 November 1999)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the non-union shoot in San Francisco, crew members struck and were joined by star 'Sarah Polley', who walked the picket line. Striking crew members report that they were quite touched by her action, which was more than a gesture, but rather a sincere belief in workers' rights. On her part, Polley called her union, the Screen Actors Guild, to tell them of her action, and the union representative told her they'd back her if she crossed the picket line. SAG assumed that she was calling to ask whether she could defy the strike and cross the picket line! A shocked and dismayed Polley stayed out with the strikers, and the strike ended after three days when their grievances were met. Subsequently, Polley has stated that she has been told that she lost several job offers due to this incident as producers don't want a union 'militant' despite the film industry being a craft industry dominated by the guild (union) system and she did what she felt was right. See more »

Goofs

The wet spots on Harper's shirt after taking a shower. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Harper Sloane: These photographs of me were taken when I was 21 years old. They were shot on Plus X with a 105-mm lens on a Nikon F-2, developed normal, two stops overexposed. I like this one a lot. The F-2 was lost forever to a pawn shop in Los Angeles four years ago. The photographer lived in San Francisco up until last week. He was the worst man I ever met, or maybe the best, I'm still not sure. If you're supposed to learn by your mistakes, then he was the best mistake I ever made. He was my ...
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Soundtracks

Ay Ay Ay Ay
Written and Performed by Johnny Martinez
Courtesy of Discos Dos Coronas
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User Reviews

The truth about scaredy-cats and horndogs
26 September 1999 | by (los angeles) – See all my reviews

The young Canadian actress Sarah Polley can sizzle in character parts--she burns a hole in the screen in her tiny bit in Cronenberg's EXISTENZ, and she was luminous as the princess in the wheelchair in THE SWEET HEREAFTER. But in leading roles, she seems both brittle and amoeboid. As Harper, the insecure and overlooked daughter of a family of cutthroat lawyers, she has one amazing scene--being seduced, her reactions fry out her speakers, sending from giggly hysteria to overdrive lust. Harper is seduced by an aging bohemian wedding photographer (Stephen Rea)--a lush who talks a big game, pontificates in bars with his low-rent cronies, and makes a sport and a pastime of mentoring (and groping) avid young women. But we don't see any hunger, any passion or obsession in Harper. When the photographer, Connie, tells her she has talent it's an obvious pick-up line--not because she hasn't done any work, but because she shows no interest in anything but being noticed.

The writer-director, Audrey Wells, doesn't show much interest in anything else, either. The author of the scripts for GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE and INSPECTOR GADGET, her first indie feature has more than a whiff of the dilettante. Like AMERICAN BEAUTY, GUINEVERE likes to flirt with the idea of having an "edge," then shies away from it. Both of these movies are just too damned clear. The pleasure of that seduction scene is that Harper responds in ways that are messy, funny, unprogrammed; every other scene in the picture makes its point in letters so bold the thickest member of the audience couldn't miss it.

You can take the girl out of the studio, but ain't no way you're taking the studio out of the girl. The lechy photographer's big sin--the thing that makes him evanesce in Harper's eyes--is that, at fifty, he's still stumping and hustling for cash. Can Audrey Wells really intend that it's okay for Connie to be a serial phony, an ego-inflating come-on artist, but his real Achilles' heel is that he never made real money? (Wells' point seems to be: Connie gets Harper's tender young flesh--he could at least pay the bills.) Every scene is so blandly overdetermined it reeks of falsity--especially the much-applauded one where Harper's bitchy mom (Jean Smart) comes into Connie's loft and undoes their relationship with a single cutting observation. (Would these lovers react with such shock to such an obvious accusation?)

For someone making a movie about the romance of the artist's life, Wells seems to have no clue how artists talk to each other, or even behave--she seems to think that's egghead stuff the audience won't care about. But it's that, not sex, that's supposed to be the fundament of Connie and Harper's relationship. Despite Rea's and Polley's efforts, the movie drowns in big-movie timidity. And the ending--a Felliniesque princess fantasy where all of Connie's sweet young things gather for an All That Jazz adieu--maybe intended to be tender. It comes across as a final, passive-aggressive flipping of the bird to a half-forgotten, dirty-minded teacher.


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