Separated from her incarcerated husband Bill (Hinds), Trish (Janney) is about to be married again. Bill is a pedophile, so Trish couldn't be more excited to have Harvey (Lerner), a "normal" father figure for her two sons. But when Bill is released from prison and the boys finally meet their future stepdad, the family is forced to decide whether to forgive or to forget. Trish's sister, the virginal, angelic Joy (Henderson), is also haunted by ghosts of lovers past. On leave from her degenerate husband, Allen (Williams), and her job at a New Jersey correctional facility, Joy unwittingly leaves behind a trail of shame and exposed secrets wherever she goes. In one of the film's most stylized sequences, the image of Joy walking the dark streets of Miami in her nightgown maintains her innocence against a backdrop of self-affliction and desire.Written by
Todd Solondz is unique and so are his films. He forces you to look through an angle that we systematically ignore. There is an element of tenderness that permeates the darkest of corners and compassion emerges, limpid, clear even rational. This is, if possible, a sequel to his masterful "Happiness" The pain is still palpable but there is a hint of hope, China or not China. "I don't care about freedom or democracy, I care about my dad" Yes, I hear you kid. In the midst of it all, I hear you. Added bonuses: Cieran Hids as a scary, powerful presence. Allison Janney, one of the best American actresses working today. Charlotte Rampling makes an appearance as a sort of escapee from an erotic nightmare and don't you dare ignore or let this film pass you by. Todd Solondz is a great, startling American poet.
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