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James Le Gros,
A meditation on isolation and intersection in the big city - the layered story of three characters who find courage to move to the next stage of life through profound encounters with strangers they meet on their daily routes. Rose, an optometrist paralyzed by crushing grief after the death of her infant, has built a wall around herself, unable to relate to her estranged husband or anyone else. When an elderly patient, a painter losing his eyesight, begins to visit her office unannounced, Rose registers how alone he is, urging him to reach out and ask for help--something neither does easily. Meanwhile Simon, a late-blooming teenager with an overbearing mother, photographs people at a distance with a borrowed long lens. One day, Rose, beautiful and melancholy in a vibrant scarf, comes into focus in his camera sight. The pictures he shoots become a conduit for each of them to touch something deep within and expand their confining existence. - Caroline LibrescoWritten by
The Sundance Film Guide
There is an image of a hand hanging on a piece of paper in the mail room (about 1/2 through the movie) that matches the configuration of Heather Graham's hand on the window, as she looks out of her apartment (about 1/4 through the movie). See more »
The guy who invented the digital camera: the number-one reason to repeal the assault-weapon ban.
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This movie is a pleasant surprise that returns faith in American movie, the faith that has been suffering for a long while, recovering just rarely by Tim Burton's work or movies like "Eternal Sunshine..."
We – especially us who live outside USA – have been exposed to so much Hollywood vain, shallow, plastic movies in range from superhero action violence and funless teen comedies to the worst movie blasphemies - remakes, that we use to forget that there are small movies untouched by Hollywood lethal sauce. Even masterpieces like Big Fish, Edward Scissorhand, Chocolate, Green Mile (or already mentioned Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind) have a clear Hollywood sign, and after all those Rambos and American Pies, comics based blockbusters and remakes of French movies (what is additionally ironic because average American movie consumer would rather see a rattlesnake on the floor than French movie on the screen) this touch of Hollywood became odious, what is a tragic decline for this old temple of movies... just few decades ago the touch of Hollywood style was the best praise a movie could be given.
Adrift in Manhattan is more European style than any American movie I've seen for a long while; even more, it is more European style than many European movies made in last two decades. Too many European movie makers make movies to fit into Hollywood standards, hoping it will sell better; now, American authors teach Europe a lesson how good a movie can exist without Hollywood sugar, false glamour and forced tears.
The basic thing that connects main characters in the movie is loneliness. Though set on Manhattan we don't get the feeling that the big city is the prime suspect for their loneliness, they would probably be lonely everywhere on Earth. Not only that, but somehow New York eases their pain and helps them find each other, find them the way to tomorrow. And this is one of those things that are so often in Europe, a kind of love stories between director and his city, an ode and praise to it, something that American authors so rarely give us.
The second feeling mutual to the characters (besides loneliness) is guilt. They all carry a burden of old mistakes on their conscience – even if they aren't really guilty (from our point of view). And their loneliness grows not only because this burden presses them too hard, not only because they are ashamed, but mostly because they are afraid to share it with anybody. And only learning to open their souls to another person – whoever it may be, the more unknown stranger the easier it can be done – can give them hope, a chance for redemption and leaving this guilt behind them. Sharing a burden reduces the pressure. And as we follow these people, we will see how some relations terminate because of total loss of communication, while others appear and develop once the shell softens.
There are no breathtaking performances in the movie, but all the actors made a good job. Personally, I find Dominic Chianese a bit above the others, but it was a most interesting character so the role offered more chances, more challenges. The unobtrusive music was well aligned to beautiful photography, camera loved both the actors and the city.
This movie gave us a picture of some other New York than we usually see, and a completely different picture of American movies than we are used to watch.
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