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Daisy von Scherler Mayer
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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
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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Intense and redeeming enough to overcome the awkward fliming and editing
Personal Velocity (2002)
Literally three short movies that have a similar sense of crisis for the leading woman, but which set up mostly contrasts and comparisons. It's dramatic, interesting, sometimes difficult emotional stuff. The intentions are superb, and the acting focused and believable. In all, as a low-budget indie production, this has seriousness and depth.
It also is awkward enough in its filming to keep it from quite taking off, or letting you get fully absorbed. At first the very simple (and often imperfect) camera-work seems like smart stylizing, but then it's clear it's also an issue of making do with limitations. There are even moments that shift to a series of still frames in sequence, which feels like artistic invention until you realize it's not really contributing to the larger feeling of things.
This isn't quite a nitpick, but it does counterbalance the rawness of the acting, rather than enhance it.
The three stories are similar in the sense the woman are forced to survive in relationships, and in worlds, that are often hostile and confusing. And what's great is how they all do, in fact survive. As bad, or as uncertain, as their lives get, there is finally that pulling up by the bootstraps and realizing that better things are possible.
You'll hardly think this is the case in the first of the three stories, as the leading woman is portrayed as very strong and yet brutally weaker than her crazed husband. This shift is so shocking it might make some viewers quit the movie. But there is redemption even in this story. And in the second story, which is partly about greed and ambition, the tone changes dramatically, moving from a very poor to a very rich situation. The third story crosses other lines and solidifies the larger intention of the movie as a set of comparable, if unrelated, scenarios.
It's good stuff, and you want mostly to see the director (and screenwriter) Rebecca Miller (who also did "Regarding Henry") continue to make really interesting movies.
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