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USA 1982
Directed by
John Sayles
110 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars


The sisterhood may not want to believe it possible but John Sayles's film is a convincing and empathetic portrait of a lesbian awakening.

Linda Griffiths plays Lianna, a married New Jersey woman who, unsatisfied in all respects, bar her two children, with her marriage to her former college teacher (Jon DeVries), falls in love with her night-school teacher, Ruth (Jane Hallaren), a seasoned dyke. Head over heels, Lianna naively blurts everything out and her world starts to come unstuck. Her already hostile husband kicks her out of their home, her best friend cold shoulders her and even her new lover withdraws from her passion.

Whilst films like this made by gay women often have a didactic, sistas-doing-it-for-ourselves quality, Sayles, with characteristic flair, treats his material and the audience with intelligence. As with Return of the Secaucus Seven he does this firstly with his remarkable skill in creating believable characters and giving them words to match and secondly, with his light touch as an editor, the two aspects working together to mirror life's complex realities as Lianna juggles the various roles of wife, mother, friend, lover, employee, student and being-for-herself on her journey of self-discovery.




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