Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her (2000) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Five loosely intertwined stories of the emotional issues facing individual middle-aged Angelenas are presented. In "This Is Dr. Keener", physician Elaine Keener is spending the day taking care of her invalid mother at home on the nurse's day off. Elaine, a scientist, seeks confirmation on what may be a turning point issue in her life by an unconventional means, namely a tarot card reading. Although the news Elaine receives through the reading is a largely accurate assessment of her current life, it is the news about that crossroads issue that takes her somewhat aback. In "Fantasies About Rebecca", thirty-nine year old Rebecca Waynon is outwardly in control of her life, from her job as a bank manager to her personal long term relationship with older Robert. A homeless woman named Nancy who hangs around outside the bank seems to have a clearer picture of what is truly happening with Rebecca than Rebecca herself, as is witnessed by Rebecca's ultimate reaction to an action in dealing with a personal issue. In "Someone for Rose", divorced mother Rose's life is focused on making sure her fifteen year old son Jay is turning into a respectable young man. Between that and her new work as a writer of children's books, Rose doesn't seem to have time to look for love, which changes when Albert, a dwarf, moves in across the street. In "Goodnight Lilly, Goodnight Christine", lesbian couple Christine and Lilly discuss their relationship - past, present and future - as they deal with Lilly's terminal illness. And in "Love Waits For Kathy", police detective Kathy Faber lives with her blind sister Carol Faber. Although Carol has an active life - social and professional, the former which includes dates - and is more than capable of managing on her own as she is highly perceptive, Kathy, under the surface, treats Carol with kid gloves to make sure she's all right in dealing with life considering her physical disability. As such, Kathy has let her personal life largely slip by her. But is it too late for Kathy?

  • An anthology of five loosely connected stories dealing with a variety of very different women in dealing with their own life problems. The first story "This is Dr. Keener" features Glenn Close as a doctor looking after her invalid mother who comes to realize that her own life is passing her by. The second story "Fantasies About Rebecca" features Holly Hunter as a wealthy bank manager who doesn't realize that her own life is a sham in dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, a workaholic boyfriend, and an observant street woman who knows more about Rebecca than she herself does. The third, "Someone For Rose" features Kathy Baker as a single mother who debates with herself over starting a romance with a dwarf who moves into the house across her street. The fourth, "Goodnight Lilly, Goodnight Christine" features Calista Flockhart as Christine, a tarot reader who struggles with increasing grief and depression while taking care of her lesbian lover Lilly who's dying from cancer. The fifth, "Love Waits for Kathy" features Amy Brenneman as a police detective who examines her loneliness after her blind sister Carol begins dating while Kathy is on a case of investigating the suicide of an old school friend who was just as lonely as she.

  • A study of the physical and emotional intricacies affecting the everyday lives of a very diverse group of women, and the strategies they adopt in coping with events - large and small, overt and hidden - which shape the way they live.


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