Turning her back on her wealthy, established family, Diane Arbus falls in love with Lionel Sweeney, an enigmatic mentor who introduces Arbus to the marginalized people who help her become one of the most revered photographers of the twentieth century.
Robert Downey Jr.,
When a disgraced former college dean has a romance with a mysterious younger woman haunted by her dark, twisted past, he is forced to confront a shocking fact about his own life that he has kept secret for 50 years.
Anna is a young widow who is finally getting on with her life after the death of her husband, Sean. Now engaged to be married, Anna meets a ten-year-old boy who tells her he is Sean reincarnated. Though his story is both unsettling and absurd, Anna can't get the boy out of her mind. And much to the concern of her fiancé, her increased contact with him leads her to question the choices she has made in her life. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
During a Galla tribute to Nicole Kidman at the NY Film Festival in 2012, NYFF program director Richard Peña called this film one of the most underrated films of the last twenty years. See more »
In the second bath scene near the end of the movie, the amount of mud on Sean's face changes between shots. See more »
Voice of Sean:
Ok, let me say this.
Voice of Sean:
Let me say this. If I lost my wife and, and uh, the next day a little bird landed on my windowsill, looked me right in the eye, and in plain English said, 'Sean, it's me, Anna. I'm back' What could I say? I guess I'd believe her. Or I'd want to. I'd be stuck with a bird. But other than that, no. I'm a man of science. I just don't believe that mumbo-jumbo. Now, that's gonna have to be the last question. I need to go running before I head home.
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The premise of the death of a prominent scientist coinciding with the birth of a child and the two "souls" merging ten years later was an intriguing one. But despite the effective cinematography, especially the exterior scenes in New York City, there was a central problem to this film.
The major problem was in the characterization of the child. The main character Anna (Nicole Kidman) becomes attached to the 10-year-old boy who claims to be her deceased husband. Anna then develops an obsession with the child, throwing her engagement to Joseph (Danny Huston) into confusion.
If only the child had some personality and had been able to convey some of the charm of the deceased husband, it might have been possible to become engaged in this film as a supernatural thriller. (When Anna and the boy meet privately in Central Park, the site is Sean's death scene. A more appropriate spot would have been a special part of the park where the couple met in life--not the place where Sean died.) Throughout the film, the boy only asserted ad nauseum that he was the husband "Sean" without giving Anna any hint of the "soul" of her former husband. If only the screenwriters could have developed sensitively and insightfully the characterization of the child, this film could have been stunning.
The credibility gap was too wide for us to believe that Anna would actually begin to love the child as the reincarnation of her husband. It was also too difficult to believe that Joseph, Anna's family, and the child's parents would permit him to literally move into Anna's apartment.
The most effective scene in the film was the moment when Anna's sister-in-law Clara (Anne Heche) confronts the child with her own secrets pertaining to Anna and Sean. The entire film might have resonated this level of energy if only the little boy had been given a personality!
It is unfortunate that this little kid could not have been paired with Linda Blair's character in "The Exorcist." Now that would have been a perfect match!
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