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



2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harper Sloane
Deborah Sloane
Susan Sloane
Sharon McNight ...
Leslie (as Sharon Mcnight)
Alan Sloane
Oded Gross ...
Grace Una ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Everything looks better in close-up. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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




Release Date:

12 November 1999 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

A Lente do Desejo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$54,145 (USA) (24 September 1999)


$614,202 (USA) (5 November 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


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


[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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It Used to Be Sorta Somber
Written and Performed by James Leary
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User Reviews

I really wanted this to be a good film. It just wasn't.
4 September 1999 | by (Montreal, Quebec) – See all my reviews

I just saw of this film at the Montreal World Film Festival. Stephen Rea and Sarah Polley were in attendance. You could not ask for two better actors. Rea plays a 45-50ish photographer who seduces 20 yr. old Sarah Polley to give up her law school career and become an artist and his live-in- lover.

The director and writer, Audrey Wells, also directed and wrote The Truth About Cats and Dogs. I intensely disliked that film because it was implausible, not grounded in any reality, and because even the luminous Jeneane Garafalo couldn't save it. Audrey Wells also wrote Inspector Gadget; clearly, her writing leaves something to be desired. In this film she manages to put interesting situations (May-September romance / high vs. low class) forth but whenever they approach any hard edges here comes the soft humour or easy way outs or just plain ambiguously unrealized character motives. Polley's character would get to say one disturbing or strong thing, then have go on acting so obviously well below her & her character's intelligence.

I consistently thought scenes were misdirected and that the writing gave up on itself and fell into cliche, sapping it of any force it had. And with the potential force between these two great actors never realized it was a sad loss. This is no Lolita or Educating Rita. Consider even the ballyhooed scene were Jean Smart, in a good job, takes down Rea's character in front of her daughter (the 'awe' scene.) The camera focusses intently on Smart's malice. Think how much better that little diatribe would be if we were watching *Polley's* reaction while hearing the *mother's* words. That would be a real dislocation. Then we could see the full range of which Polley is absolutely capable.

Also, the soundtrack music was very synthetic and touchy-feely and it worked completely against the (potentially) creepy aspect of the film, until the white-light hogwash of the end. But if you liked all that white-light business in "Kissed" & if you could tolerate the preposterous situation of Cats & Dogs, then maybe you will like this film. As it was, I found it singularly unconvincing, the moreso as it went along.

ps. Sandra Oh is very funny with the two minutes of screen time she gets. Sandra Oh is always excellent. If you want to see a good Sarah Polley & Sandra Oh film, rent "Last Night". It's brilliant. For Stephen Rea, look forward to his next Neil Jordan film.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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