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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a refreshing examination of three women, whose only apparent
connection is a local spa where they happen to enjoy steam baths at the
Their ages are roughly 20, 40, and 80, and the generational differences between them are portrayed as they each prepare for a first date with someone new. The oldest, played by the legendary Ruby Dee, is mourning the loss of her husband and happens to meet a nice local man whom she agrees to have over for dinner. Ally Sheedy plays the middle-aged woman, frustrated by her ex-husband's manipulation of their son but flirtatious with the boy's football coach who is half her age. Relative newcomer Kate Siegel plays a college student with overbearing religious parents and is excited to explore her first lesbian relationship.
You can expect some awkward aspects to the production such as lengthy shots and awkward framing (and steam seems to fill rooms that are not even in the spa), but the actresses all give great performances, and most importantly, these are roles that you do not see in Hollywood movies. Elderly women falling in love are almost never portrayed, and sexy single mothers tend to be so much more neurotic than Sheedy is here. The college lesbian is a little underdeveloped, as if her attraction to girls suddenly happens when she sees a ravishing lass at school, but her sexual exploration is not exploitative or melodramatic.
Each woman faces joy and despair in their respective romances, with Dee's being the most complex, and ultimately, the most powerful. Similar to her character here, Dee's real-life husband Ossie Davis died the year before, and she conveys such wise pain in her scenes. Hers is also the rarest of the three characters, yet they are all worth appreciating for their realism, which is ironically distinct from the norm we are so often shown in movies about women.
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