In 1931 Paris, Anais Nin meets Henry Miller and his wife June. Intrigued by them both, she begins expanding her sexual horizons with her husband Hugo as well as with Henry and others. June shuttles between Paris and New York trying to find acting jobs while Henry works on his first major work, "Tropic of Cancer," a pseudo-biography of June. Anais and Hugo help finance the book, but June is displeased with Henry's portrayal of her, and Anais and Henry have many arguments about their styles of writing on a backdrop of a Bohemian lifestyle in Paris.Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you're drawn to this film as a Henry Miller fan and expecting the Paris of Tropic of Cancer, you'll be let down. This film is a character-driven drama and therefore it is not intended to reproduce Miller's vision. Instead, the film focuses on (then) newly revealed excerpts from Anais Nin's diary. Four characters: Miller, Anais, June (Miller's wife), and Hugo (Anais' husband) complete the love square within which fairly complex relationships play out.
The film is primarily concerned with Anais' sexual awakening through her relationship with Miller and his wife. And I have to say, de Medeiros exceeds all expectations in this role. Not only does she look remarkably like the young Anais, but she also seems to radiate the writer's deep erotic mystique. If nothing else, watch this film just for this performance-- besides, she's absolutely gorgeous. Thurman's performance is also quite good, her NYC accent believable and her dirty-girl role works well in contrast to Anais' bourgeois exterior. Ward as Miller took some getting used to, but Grant's character seemed wooden and artificial.
Literary and historical references are sparsely sprinkled throughout the film, and although Miller has a few monologues in which he attempts to express the point of his writing, Miller fans will find nothing more than a superficial synopsis. But again, this can't be counted against the film since its focus is Anais. As far as the eroticism of the new "Journals" goes, the film succeeds fairly well- but the images convey more than the dialog.
This brings me to my final point: the NC-17 rating. Historically, this film was the first with that rating-- the MPAA created the rating specifically for this film since they deemed it to risqué for an R. By today's standards, this film is an R. If you're looking for softcore, watch "Emmanuelle" or something.
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