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
I used to write. Then I used to paint. I think I'm going to be one of those people with a lot of potential who never really takes off.
Norwegian Man Who Dies with Paula:
Those are always the best kind of people
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A critic I read before seeing this movie (Lynden Barber of the Sydney Morning Herald) opined that it was a book illustrated with film rather than a proper movie. He's right, but that does not make it a complete write-off. There is as much voice-over as in a football match (why use a male?) but the visuals still convey some of the stories, which are not all without interest.
There are three separate stories of women having trouble with men; two from the working class and one an upwardly mobile book editor. They are tenuously connected by a street incident. One has a bashing husband, another, a husband she has outgrown, and the third has problems with her boyfriend, her stepfather and her maternal instinct. All seem to favour running away as the solution; stand and fight is not the female way, at least not in New York State.
The author of the original short stories is Rebecca Miller, who also directed from her own screenplay. This certainly accounts for the literary quality. Rebecca has a famous literary father, the great Arthur Miller, and I suspect he is in the film somewhere as a character or at least a presence. The working class girl stories are too trite to be involving (though very well played by Kyra Sedgwick and Fairuza Balk) but the middle story of the book editor (played coolly by Parker Posey) rings true. The use of digital video suits the subject-matter (Dogma 95 on the Hudson) and the whole thing is competently realised. It is the weakness in the first and third stories that disappoints.
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