Alan Rudolph has come out, again, a winner with this taut dramatic comedy. The screen play by Craig Lucas, and based on a Jane Smiley's book, is a story about what happens to a married couple that is overwhelmed with the daily wear and tear of their suburban boredom.
David Hurst discovers at the very beginning of the film that his wife might be having an extra marital affair. The only problem is, he never gets to know who this person is that his wife, Dana, is seeing on the sly. All appearances point out to the fact that his dentist wife, has found someone that satisfies her more than the good husband.
Now, is it real, or is Dave seeing things? It's very easy to think that yes, Dana is cheating on her husband, yet, we never get any conclusive evidence this is so.
The wife, evidently, in this marriage is overwhelmed by her own life. She has her own practice as a dentist; she is a full fledged mother with three little girls that are showing signs of collective neurosis at a very early age in life, and she is an member of the chorus of the local opera company, which consumes all the free time she has.
Therefore, Dana's relationship with Dave suffers as they don't communicate. We never see them confronting what's wrong with their marriage, or what's driving them apart. Dave never has the courage to question Dana about her odd behavior. He is a coward who would rather keep a status quo and would never question the wife he clearly adores. There is a hidden drama between these two that never comes out in the open at all. It is a miracle they have stayed together for as long as they have since by all apparent reasons, this marriage should have been over a long, long time ago.
Campbell Scott is an actor whose face registers all the emotions this David Hurst is feeling without much effort. His take on this dentist is so incredible that one feels he is the real dentist at all times. One wouldn't mind going to him for a root canal, or any dental problem, as you know he is a decent person, even when he treats the patient from hell, Dennis Leary, at the beginning of the film.
Hope Davis is perfection herself in her approach to Dana. She is the mother of the three troubled little girls, as well as the wife of Dave. She hasn't enough time to pursue all she wants in life. Maybe she married David for the wrong reasons; perhaps she should have left this situation a long time ago. Who knows what's on her mind? Ms Davis is a fine actress who always delivers. In the hands of Alan Rudolph she is at the top of her form.
The three little Hurst girls are fine as the daughters of Dave and Dana and Dennis Leary is excellent as Dave's conscience in a very subtle role that he makes it his own.
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