Biopic of sorts about Agatha Christie, the famed mystery writer. The story is told in flashback and from Christie's point of view at two distinctly different times in her life - one through the sessions she had with her psychiatrist after her famous 11 day disappearance in 1926 and the other through recollections she give at interviews with journalists on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the West End run of her play The Mousetrap. Christie had a free and open childhood, shattered somewhat by the death of her father. As a volunteer nurse, she met her first husband, Archie Christie. Much of the film deals with her disappearance in 1926 which came about following her husband's request for a divorce which would allow him to marry the woman with whom he had been having an affair. Her psychiatrist concluded that she had been in some type of fugue state and that her loss of memory was genuine. She eventually re-married, spending much of her time with in Syria and Iraq with ... Written by
I'm afraid I feel rather like one of your fish, doctor. I read they only have a ten second memory. Once around the bowl is it, I'm afraid.
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There is a freeze-frame of each of the main characters, accompanied by a caption saying what happened to them after the events of the film. Then the caption disappears and there are a few seconds of motion-picture footage, then the frame freezes again and a caption gives the name of the actor. See more »
Many stories here. There's the story Agatha wishes for her romantic life, and where she gets her fuel for her writing career. There's the story she is presented with: two husbands, each a selfish adulterer and herself growing into a most unappealing person. There's the stories she writes for her commercial readers, highly successful. And there's the story she writes for herself of her life. That includes this bizarre episode of her "disappearance," investigated as a possible kidnapping or murder. In fact it was an elaborate story desperately begun with no end written.
And then there's this story on the DVD, a confabulation of all these, the gimmick being that they are shuffled creatively. Its the sort of thing I love, that I live for as a consumer of stories.
And its really hard to mess up because you get a lot of value out of simply making the attempt to flatten all these folds into one layer.
But it is messed up here. Its virtually unwatchable. I don't think the reason is any of the usual candidates: the ordinary production values are good. The idea is inspired. I think it is something very simple and small, something that a film school assignment could address and fix. Its the tone of the thing. And how that tone is carried in the editing and to some extent in the score. Some small adjustments there and a few things shuffled about and this could have been a killer project.
Oh well, there is one rather interesting thing if you are a film enthusiast. Anna Massey plays the elder Agatha. Its a strange choice because Anna is thin attractive and poised, here playing a bemused wisdom. The real person was dumpy, sour and dull, full of self-loathing. Anna was one of the redheads in "Peeping Tom," an influential entry in the history of folded narrative. She was also Babs in "Frenzy," whose death triggered one of Hitchcock's most famous shots, "goodbye Babs."
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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