During World War II, a Jewish woman saves her life thanks to a love affair with a doctor in charge of human experiments in a Nazi concentration camp. The woman then marries and moves to New York, where she raises two emotionally stunted sons. The eldest son battles his sense of disconnection from life while working at a scam modeling agency, where he befriends a charming young co-worker who begins to restore in him a sense of excitement and purpose. The neurotic younger son is locked in a compulsive, co-dependent relationship with his mother. Written by
None of the characters have names, the screenplay was written specifically for all the characters not to address each other by name. See more »
[to his girlfriend]
And you look up from your hands into the mirror, and you see a face that you recognize, a face you've been staring at your entire life, for eternity. And you remember that the face is yours, but you have no idea who you are any more. And the person you once were, who had any kind of cohesiveness or connection to himself, feels a million miles away. Like the native of some alien planet you visited long ago, in another lifetime.
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Intense adult drama about repercussions of violence and war
This movie tells a story held secret by most people who write about the Holocaust, which is the crippling effect of the Survivors' war experiences on their children. Studies have shown that the children of Nazi Holocaust Survivors share many if not all of their parents' psychological issues, particularly depression and post-traumatic stress. This film has the rare courage and honesty to show the bleak emotional damage left by that war, not only on its direct victims but on their children as well. The portrait of the mother is particularly bitterly real -- her seemingly inexplicably outbursts and fits of violence a near-mirror of the unexplained violence she witnessed as a girl; her narcissism and coldness linked to her own abandonment as a girl. Again, a poignant and tragic reality of the psychological landscape of all survivors of war. The actors were superb, the dialogue actually worth LISTENING to. Haas and Lucas put in beautifully nuanced performances and Bisset was outstanding in arguably the best, most emotional performance of her career, and looking more beautiful than ever.
This is not an easy film. It is most definitely not a family film (there are explicit depictions of sex). It is a disturbing portrait of broken people struggling to find reasons to stay alive. It's pretty great, really.
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