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Gifted 18-year-old Meg has been abandoned by her father and neglected by her hardworking mother. Left to care for her emotionally disturbed younger sister, her world begins to unravel. She finds an outlet in writing poetry and support from her English teacher, Mr. Auster. But what started out as a mentoring relationship begins to get a bit more complex. Written by
The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2002. See more »
When Mr. Auster is standing on the beach talking to Meg, his collar alternates between straightened and not straightened. See more »
A world emerges from little details. For example, when we buried my son, I had forgotten to put in my contact lenses. I stood over him before they closed the coffin, trying to fix him in my memory. I could see the red from his sweater and his blue pants, and there was a scab on his forehead that hadn't healed. It was from a bicycle accident. I could feel that scab when I kissed him, but when I looked at him... he was out of focus.
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There's a moment in this film where Meg(Agnes Buckner)is scribbling a poem on a napkin in a diner in Florida. This waitress orders her a breakfast out of kindess knowing this girl didn't have money. I point this scene out because it comes nearly at the end of the film and is possibly the only moment that is a true act of kindness where no one is using someone and poor Meg isn't being used. Meg is an unfortunate deer caught in a bear trap. She never wanted the hardships that occur to her but somehow trolleys into difficult situations out of misdirection. The character of the utmost cruelity in this film is a supposed trustworthy poetry teacher named Auster(criminally overlooked David Strathairn whose most noteworthy performance was as the always drunkened abusive husband of Kathy Bates in "Dolores Claiborne"). He spins Meg into his web with what appears to be sweetness and a great hear for her problems. Meg has a troubled sister named Lily(Regan Arnold)and overworked divorcee mother Diane(Margaret Colin,Tom Selleck's girlfriend in "Three Men and a Baby"). Meg thinks Auster is a man for whom she can go to. He sees vulnerabilty and pretends to care when really he wants her as a type of conquest. Many use poor Meg along the way and she suffers many heartbreaks. She has this goal to enter into a poetry contest in Florida. This goal was realized when Auster tells her she can win in his slick way to get her in the sack. This is a great film about a chance to just have satisfaction with one thing. Meg is a very realistic character and one that is perfectly acted by Buckner. Buckner displays a young woman not sure on herself and very self deprecating. She possesses a kindness, but is badly misguided and makes bad decisions. Still, Meg is a true character and her situations are very realistic and in ways mirror another film about teen growing pains called "Thirteen". The film is not a happy one. Most of the characters are miserable, but the film is very true to life. *****/*****
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