A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.
Charlotte Cory is a young woman convict on Death Row who has built up a friendship with Frank Nitzche through mail correspondence, whilst her attorney desperately tries to appeal the verdict before Charlotte's time runs out. With only days to spare Frank realizes that he has fallen in love with Charlotte and discovers that there is much more to the tragic circumstances of her imprisonment than he first thought - her life is now in his hands. Frank races to solve the puzzle that will reveal the truth, and tell the secrets that both he and Charlotte have been concealing, before it's too late. Written by
A powerful performance by Connie Nielsen, well supported by Aidan Quinn and Kelly Preston. The plot holes don't really matter here, it's the psyche of Charlotte Cory, as revealed by Nielson, that draws one through this film. Like Quinn's character Frank, one needs to learn why this beautiful person will passively accept execution by the state rather than defend her innocence. Self-condemned, because she miserably failed her sister Stella years before, Charlotte seems to believe she can atone for her sins in a twisted kind of sacrifice.
Neilsen reveals with her face and eyes the inner beauty of her character, the sadness on learning the (false?) circumstances of her father's death, the meaningfulness of her relationship with Frank, the love of her sister, the hope of a new life.
Aidan Quinn provides a solid, believable Frank, the shyster turning hero, resonating with Nielsen throughout.
The overwhelming impression of this film is its realism, in character portrayal, settings, musical score, it seems authentic, even when viewed through the lens of a security camera. In contrast, the fantasy sequences are whimsical and far out.
The solution of the mystery is satisfying, leading to a good ending.
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