7.1/10
9,180
115 user 80 critic

Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001)

R | | Drama | 5 July 2002 (USA)
Trailer
2:22 | Trailer

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ON DISC
In New York City, the lives of a lawyer, an actuary, a house-cleaner, a professor and the people around them intersect as they ponder order and happiness in the face of life's cold unpredictability.

Director:

Jill Sprecher
8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew McConaughey ... Troy
David Connolly ... Owen
Joseph Siravo ... Bureau Chief
A.D. Miles ... Co-Worker
Sig Libowitz ... Assistant Attorney
James Yaegashi ... Legal Assistant
Dion Graham ... Defense Attorney
Fernando López Fernando López ... Defendant (as Fernando Lopez)
Brian Smiar Brian Smiar ... Judge
Paul Austin Paul Austin ... Bartender
Allie Woods Jr. Allie Woods Jr. ... Cab Driver (as Allie Woods)
John Turturro ... Walker
Amy Irving ... Patricia
Barbara Sukowa ... Helen
Rob McElhenney ... Chris Hammond, Aspiring Medical Student
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Storyline

A physics professor approaching middle age decides to change his life with unexpected results. A rising young prosecuting attorney's plans are thrown into disarray as the result of a single careless act while distracted. A woman reluctantly faces her husband's infidelity. An envious insurance claims manager with family problems seeks revenge on a cheerful coworker, but has second thoughts. And an optimistic young cleaning woman awaits a miracle, only to have her faith shaken by a traumatic event. These ordinary people all find themselves asking the fundamental question philosophers have pondered throughout history: What is happiness, and how does one achieve it? Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Ask yourself if you're really happy.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Classics

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Italian

Release Date:

5 July 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

13 Conversations See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$89,499, 27 May 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,288,164

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$418,488
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The films story is inspired by two different head injuries that director Jill Sprecher endured. See more »

Goofs

After Beatrice (the house cleaner) gets out of the hospital and goes to live with her mother, she has candles lit on the bureau. Her mother says that they're a "fire hazard" and blows them out; we see her bend down, blow out the four candles on the right of the mirror (accompanied with four blowing sounds) and stand up. When she stands up, we see that all six candles, including the two to the left of the mirror, are smoking; however, she never extinguished the two on the left. See more »

Quotes

Richard 'Dick' Lacey: [... ] it seems that in the court of law there's no way to prove the effectiveness of prayer, or as judge put it: "Faith is the antithesis of proof"
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Crazy Credits

Shawn Elliott is correctly spelled in the first set of credits, but is spelled as 'Shawn Elliot" in the end credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in About Schmidt (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Put on a Happy Face
Performed by Matt Monro
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Lee Adams
© 1960 Strada Music (ASCAP)
Administered by Helene Blue Musique LTD
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
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User Reviews

The Dancing Expositor, the Fluttering White
22 April 2003 | by tedgSee all my reviews

It must be quite something to know about screen writing and sit down to a blank sheet of paper. You can start with images, or characters or situations. You have to choose the type of thread and how you trace it, including the key decision about who you are. These sisters take a different approach, very writerly, very clever. They start with the simple question of happiness in a life and come at it from multiple directions, surrounding and probing it. The characters are secondary to the writer's curiosity, and the 'stories' even more incidental. Sometimes you have a film that works with the viewer to grow a world and ideas; here you simply watch as ideas grown on a page are revealed to you. Quite different, precious, but never close to lifealtering or even viscerally engaging.

The film itself superficially resembles a 'Short Cuts' or 'Things You Can Tell' in that many story lines are interwoven. But the differences are profound. Altman's projects are driven by characters and situations that touch because they ramble. The 'Things You Can Tell' project is similar to this one in that its several components are all about the same idea. But 'Things' uses the device of one woman in many bodies, each with a different actress. In this project, the device is deliberate diversity of the characters, each facet having a discernible face.

I liked it. Its not highly cinematic, rather small theater. Its not the stuff that changes one's imagination. But it is literate, refined, and well woven in terms of the words.

As to the actors and their roles, one thing all these multifaceted projects have is the option for the viewer to select a backbone. As a matter of hardwiring we reflexively choose one thread as foreground and the others as background. For me, the anchor was Beatrice, which probably tells you a lot about me. The resurrection from disillusionment (with the opening of the doll's eye!) was a bit heavy so far as the character, but DuVall as an actor really impressed me. All of these actors played characters with an unrecognized inner life. Some, like Turturro work with more self-referential techniques, but with her it seemed true.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 4: Worth watching.


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