A psychiatrist (Gere) has an affair with his patient's sister (Basinger) who is married to a Greek mobster (Roberts). The mobster is a tyrant over his wife. The psychiatrist wants her to get a divorce, but she is afraid of what her husband would do. She has a medical condition that becomes apparent when she drinks. One night she drinks anyway and attacks her husband. The psychiatrist uses his professional pull to try and help her out of the consequences of her actions, but becomes uncertain if she is telling him the truth.Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Richard Gere exits the San Francisco courthouse by going down the steps of Los Angeles City Hall. See more »
[on psychiatrist's couch]
I had the dream again. I'm arranging flowers, on a table, for a center piece. I decorate the flower pot with fancy paper. Feels like velvet. There are three different kinds of flowers. There are lilies, and there are... by the way, did you reach my sister?
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great performance by Basinger and plot, marred by 90s clichés and a made for TV feel
This film presents something of a dilemma, on the one hand it is an original, psychologically clever and rather twisted with a rather intriguing climax and on the other it is presented as a typical early 90s generic Hollywoodized Basinger/Gere cliché. It could be considered really good, Basinger's performance is actually quite brilliant and if she wasn't who she is but a "serious character actress" and wasn't so damn gorgeous and her character wasn't so clearly a temptress, she'd had probably got some plaudits for it. Uma Thurman equally did rather well although with a little more detachment but Richard Gere seemed remote and rather emotionless despite all the things that happened to him like he was in a trance the whole way through.
Again, the plot, the actual idea is very clever. A woman (which of the two sisters you aren't really sure, or both) is either a brilliant pre-meditated killer, product of a nightmare upbringing and abusive marriage to a callous and rather self-centred misogynist in the form of the dark and horrible (well performed although somewhat typecast) Eric Roberts or she's just a sociopathic manipulative do-anything-to-survive chameleon... and this is played out well throughout the story. Kim Basinger is perfectly cast although playing very much characters she's played before - the blonde beauty, wearing red, the light catching her hair and baby-doll features flateringly etc etc. There's a brilliant bit where a colleague of Gere's is chastising him by saying that no woman is so beautiful as to make a man forget all reason and go against everything he stands for and then he sees Basinger standing in the doorway looking incredible and he just stops talking. Uma Thurman though a beautiful woman in her own right, is perfectly cast as the younger (you presume) sister who is constantly the ugly duckling the "caterpillar" compared to her butterfly sisters and even when she "turns into a butterfly" she is still a pale imitation of the original.
It's difficult to review without giving anything away. There are aspects of this film which I found I predicted, could see coming, but I had no idea how the film would play out, what Gere (playing psychologist) would do, I mean of course the court outcome is to be expected, but that was almost a given in order to set up the totally unpredictable sequence of events and almost gave a false sense of security that you would know how the rest concludes. Typical early 90s fare including the obligatory sex scene, so scripted and paint by numbers (bare behind, bare nipple, dim lighting, sound effects etc) yet non-emotive or engaging and fairly unnecessary for the plot, the film is clichéd in most regards but there's also a dark aggressive and unusual aspect in that it deals with some issues a lot less palatable than most. Take away the clichés and some of the average made-for-TV male performances, and step back a bit and this is actually quite a good film, Basinger giving one of the performances of her life stepping out of her usual totally innocent and just eye-candy comfort zone and the which sister did what aspect you are left which is rather clever.
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