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A tale of three women who have reached a turning point in their lives. Delia is a spirited, working-class woman from a small town in New York who leaves her abusive husband and sets out on a journey to reclaim the power she has lost. Greta is a sharp, spunky editor who is rotten with ambition. To spite the hated infidel ways of her father, she has settled into a complacent relationship and is struggling (not too hard) with issues of fidelity to her kind but unexciting husband. Finally Paula, who ran away from home and got pregnant, is now in a relationship she doesn't want. She's a troubled young woman who takes off on a journey with a hitchhiker after a strange, fateful encounter on a New York street. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
How could he still love me? If he does, it's because he doesn't know me. I'm rotten with ambition, a lusty little troll, the kind of demon you'd find at the bottom floor of hell pulling fingernails off the loansharks.
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I saw this film tonight at the First Annual Tribeca Film Festival and understood its success at Sundance. In short, this film is about the awakening of three different women in very different lives and circle around a news report of a shooting in Manhattan and an ensuing car accident. With the telling of each woman's tale, Miller uses a brilliant 'degree of relation' to the accident in order to develop an engaging and powerful film.
Delia casually watches the news report of the accident while waiting for the cook to bring up her next order in a small-town diner in upstate New York. Though the audience does not see a particularly unusual response that she has to it, we can imagine that her difficult circumstances allow her to relate to it on a level of shared human suffering.
Greta, who's story is told in a series of flashbacks, watches it on the morning news minutes before she has her epiphany about her failing marriage and the new turn that her life is taking as a prominent editor for a large Manhattan publishing house. Because it is the only scene in her story that takes place in the present time, the audience is left to wonder what sort of pivotal role the news report has played in her epiphany.
Finally, Paula's story brings the accident close to home as she is a witness to it. Her epiphany was a direct result of the accident since it was a near-death experience for her. She's not only shocked from the impact of it, but her struggle to explain it with cosmic signs allows her to transcend the accident and the events following it.
The performances were real, the direction was brilliant, and the common thread that ran through the intimate details of the women's awakenings flowed easily, despite the segmented telling of their tales. Miller's work in this film has inspired me to seek out her feature debut, _Angela_ as well.
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