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40 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

I wish I could see the director's version

Author: filmlover314 from London
24 August 2006

I went to see this film because I'd heard about it from a friend of mine who worked on the production. Apparently the producers completely re-cut the film to make it more 'commercial' and as a result the director walked away during post-production and asked to have his name removed.

Apparently the director's cut is a totally different film, and I'd be very interested to see it because there are moments in this version that are kind of impressive. The film has an underlying intelligence and you get a sense that the director was trying to achieve something ambitious and different. The writing is confident and subtle and the film has a bold narrative structure. On the downside, some of the editing is quite sloppy and the whole film is marred by a terrible score.

Taking the film at face value, I'd have to say that it was boring at times but also intermittently intriguing. Some of the chronology didn't cohere as you felt it should and yet some of the narrative juxtapositions were beguiling. My balanced assessment is that the film reaches for a unique, dreamlike atmosphere and sometimes it succeeds.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A Dysfunctional Family Is Examined

6/10
Author: Neil Turner from Annapolis, Maryland
7 November 2008

An upper middle class English dysfunctional family is examined while the time switches back and forth from the past to the present.

In the present, Alice is seen begging her son, Jack Ferris, to attend his twenty-first birthday party that she and her husband, Jack's stepfather, are giving. It is clear that Jack dislikes his stepfather and has long been estranged from his mother.

Jack's sister, Elyssa Ferris, still lives at home and seems to maintain a respectful, yet distant relationship with both her mother and stepfather.

Time returns to when Jack and Elyssa were pre-adolescents, and we see the relationship between the children's father - now dead. Jim Ferris is definitely an alpha male being a success in business and expecting exemplary achievements and behavior from his children.

It is clear from their actions that, even though they love their father, and he loves them, that these two children have serious emotional and adjustment problems. A weakness in the storyline of the film is exposed here as Jim Ferris doesn't appear nearly as domineering and controlling enough to foster the abhorrent actions of his children - especially those of Elyssa. Most of this horrible behavior exposes itself after Jim's death.

This film is well acted by all of the players and beautifully produced, but the extreme actions of the two children - both and youths and adults - are not fully justified based upon the events witnessed by the viewer. Never-the-less, it is an interesting and entertaining film.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

it is not always easy to grow up as a family member, especially if you are a kid.

8/10
Author: cornelius siccama (komajasi@planet.nl) from Netherlands
25 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is no guide book. you have to make up for yourself what is it all about. how do you guess the director's meaning with the place of the children in the plot. What are they going through, how is their behavior be interpreted ? So make it up take their place, live their lives; be their mentor if you like. It is difficult in the beginning; not the jumps in time, they are easy to understand. It is the behavior of all the members, especially the mother. Sometimes she looks like a lookalike of Merel Streep. But when you arrive in their heads; of the brother en sister you will be amazed what you will experience. Moving en very heartwarming indeed. Perhaps 8 out of ten is a bit low on the scale.

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