John and Ann Mullany, a junior partner at a law firm and a housewife respectively, are a young, upwardly mobile couple, who most would deem to have a perfect life. Ann's outward perfection belies the fact that she is in therapy, dealing with the stress over worrying about global issues with which she has little to no control. She does not see certain things with which she does have control being problems in her life, namely her sexual repression or her disinterest in sex as an activity, that is until it manifested itself in this stress which in turn is having, what she believes, a negative impact on her marriage. What she is unaware of is that, long before her stress began, John embarked on an affair with her sister, bartender Cynthia Bishop, who she doesn't admire as being too "loud". John reconnects with a close friend from college named Graham Dalton, who, to John, appears to have lost his way in life in the years that they have not been in touch. Graham, via the method in which he...Written by
Exquisitely crafted, honest, minimalist and an almost perfect product
It is a film about relationships, dilemma, courage and more. What works in life and what does not. Honesty does and (crudely speaking) at a very basic level that is the message. At the very heart are the three protagonists who are stuck. The therapist is spectacularly wrong in his interpretation to the apparently frigid wife: 'If you think about it ...you are obsessed about things you have no control over'. But she demonstrates at the end that she did have the control. All she needed was a better, more 'intimate' therapist; a catalyst : Graham ; who ends up uncluttering the cheating sister in law's mind and forces the husband to confront his problems in the process. It is a remarkably optimistic film in its content and therefore perhaps slightly unrealistic.
It is a film about masterful use of contrasts; the two women and the two men could not have been more opposite in every possible respect. In a way Graham is also a perfect contrast to the imperfect Psychoanalyst. This helps the director bring out the message clearly.
The whole film is crafted in a minimalist way, flows smoothly and does not carry much 'garbage'! Music, camera and the narrative are almost perfect in that they are almost invisible. So are the actors, especially James Spader and to a large extent Andie MacDowell. Gallegher is probably less than perfect but very good nonetheless. Laura Giacomo portrays a rather difficult character really well. It treats the audience with respect as the message is subtle and very personal, as it should be. My only grievance is the last office scene involving Gallegher was probably unnecessary.
Sex and the videotapes are incidental to the storey and perhaps misnomers therefore.
It is like reading a rather well written short storey and I would recommend 'Days And Nights In The Forest' (perhaps slightly more realistic and understated than this film) by Satyajit Ray to those who have enjoyed this film.
My rating 8/10.
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