6.7/10
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Lianna (1983)

A happily married woman comes to realize herself of being a repressed lesbian after she has an affair with a female college professor, and then tries to come to terms with her newfound lifestyle.

Director:

John Sayles

Writer:

John Sayles
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Linda Griffiths Linda Griffiths ... Lianna
Jane Hallaren ... Ruth
Jon DeVries Jon DeVries ... Dick
Jo Henderson Jo Henderson ... Sandy
Jessica MacDonald Jessica MacDonald ... Theda (as Jessica Wight MacDonald)
Jesse Solomon Jesse Solomon ... Spencer
John Sayles ... Jerry
Stephen Mendillo ... Bob
Betsy Julia Robinson Betsy Julia Robinson ... Cindy
Nancy Mette ... Kim
Maggie Renzi Maggie Renzi ... Sheila
Madelyn Coleman Madelyn Coleman ... Mrs. Hennessy
Robyn Reeves Robyn Reeves ... Job Applicant
Chris Elliott ... Lighting Assistant
Marta Renzi Marta Renzi ... Dancer
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Storyline

Lianna and her husband Dick have been married for a few years but the marriage isn't a happy one, since Dick treats her with arrogance. One day Lianna falls in love - with Ruth, a teacher. The people who know them act different: her husband with feelings of sexual betrayal, her children with curiosity and Lianna's friends with ambivalence. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 September 1983 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Lianna, Um Amor Diferente See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,530,839

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,530,839
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Winwood Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Sayles based the characters on couples he knew who were undergoing custody battles and women who were coming out as lesbians. See more »

Quotes

Lianna: [after seeing him misbehaving there with one of his students] How was the party?
Dick: Okay I guess. The usual. A lot of students like always at the Loomises', trying to score their brownie points.
Lianna: Um hmm.
[pause]
Lianna: How many do you get for a fuck in the sandbox?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title LIANNA is the last title in the opening credit sequence, after all the actors and fundamental members of the crew are credited. See more »

Connections

Referenced in It's in the Water (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

The Waitress
Written by Mason Daring
Performed by Jonathan Edwards
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of Sayles' very best films
11 July 2005 | by zetesSee all my reviews

Sayles' second feature as director, and his first great film. It's not perfect, has its share of clichés and is certainly dated, but it's wonderful. Linda Griffiths stars as Lianna, a young mother of two who is constantly suffering under her smarter, controlling husband, a film professor (Jon DeVries). Lianna doesn't have much of a life, but she manages to sneak in a night class twice a week. She develops what seems to be a non-romantic crush on her professor (Jane Hallaren). When her husband cheats on her, the relationship with her professor changes to a sexual one. It would be easy to hold the fact that Sayles is a man against the movie. However, Sayles does here what he does best: create strong, identifiable characters for whom we care. Lianna is really one of the best developed characters I can remember. I absolutely love the way Sayles makes her intellectually inferior to both her husband and lover. It gives her struggle a lot of weight. And I love the line she says to her husband: "Just because you can argue better doesn't mean you are right." She breaks my heart. The power structure between her and her husband is brilliantly written. I also liked that Sayles creates a new power structure, and not one wholly different from the marriage, between Lianna and her lesbian lover. My only complaint is that Sayles does sometimes treat Hallaren's character too kindly. She's clearly taking advantage of Lianna, and at times she's clearly treating her badly. In fact, the relationship starts exactly the same way as the relationship between Lianna and her husband. She was once his student, as well. The parallel isn't underlined as well as it should have been. I think Linda Griffith's performance here is one of the best ever. It's a tragedy that she didn't become famous after this. I know that Sayles isn't the greatest director (specifically referring to the direction) in the world, but this is some of his best work on that front (his very best is certainly Matewan). Of course his greatest talent is his writing; he is such a remarkable writer of human interrelationships. Sayles also gives his best performance as an actor in this film. Lianna is such a subtle work of human emotion. It really doesn't have any big moments, and it doesn't end with any clear resolution. The film's power only hit me about 20 minutes after it was over. It's a small masterpiece.


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