Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 2005
Directed by
Dylan Kidd
105 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Sharon Hurst
2.5 stars


Synopsis: Louise Harrington (Laura Linney) is a 39-year-old divorced admissions clerk in the School of Fine Arts at Columbia University. She is shocked when F. Scott Feinstadt (Topher Grace) turns up to apply for a place, as he reminds her of the love of her teenage years. Embarking immediately upon a torrid affair with this much younger man, Louise must then face the biggest hurdle to happiness: herself.

The major draw-card of this film is the terrific performances, especially by Laura Linney and Topher Grace. The downside is that it is so obviously an adaptation from a novel by Helen Schulman, which derives much humor and pathos from the central character's interior voice. With this interior monologue absent, I was at times puzzled as to why the characters behaved as they did, something which the novel would no doubt have illuminated.

Linney is, as always, a master of the emotional nuance. The opening shot of her applying her makeup tells us with every gesture and glance so much about Louise's character. Similarly young Grace conveys a very strong sense of his character, a sensitive man with unusually perceptive ways of dealing with women for one so young. Louise's ex-husband, Peter, is played by the darkly brooding Gabriel Byrne, and while we can see why she has remained firm friends with him, his confessions of having been a raging sex-addict and big time philanderer don't ring true in the limited time we get to know him. Louise's best friend Missy, Marcia Gay Harden is a blousy, competitive sort of broad, who also leaves us with more questions than answers, for example what the hell is she doing living in this super extravagant hotel, and why does she feel the need to steal her best friend's men?

Whereas most romances have obstacles in their path, this affair has none, except for Louise herself, who seems unable to see something good when it is under her nose. She alternates from a seemingly mature woman, to an overgrown adolescent, locked in the past by her inability to move on. Her strange and erratic treatment of F. Scott ends up leaving one wondering, "so, who cares?" and this emotional disengagement is not a good sign for the film, and again goes back to the absence of insight into the character's thoughts.

All this said, the film has smart production values with a good look: the vision of Louise's childhood bedroom with rosebud wallpaper and boxed memories, the marvellous paintings F. Scott has produced and the interesting use of mirrored reflections. At times it comes out with some great lines such as Missy contemplating the desperate need of aging women to rediscover the real self after being cast in the role of wife or mother. Had there been more attention to believable script and less of what at times seemed too neat contrivances, p.s. would have been a better film worthy of its fine performances.




Want more about this film?

search youtube  search wikipedia  

Want something different?

random vintage best worst