Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2002. Sony Pictures Classics, Good Machine, Antidote Films. Screenplay by Lisa Cholodenko. Cinematography by Wally Pfister. Produced by Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte, Susan A. Stover. Music by Craig Wedren. Production Design by Catherine Hardwicke. Costume Design by Cindy Evans. Film Editing by Amy E. Duddleston.
Lisa Cholodenko’s follow-up to her critically acclaimed High Art is another probing examination of relationships in modern day Los Angeles. Christian Bale is a straight-laced med student who has moved back to the city of Angels with his equally studious fiance (Kate Beckinsale) for his hospital internship. Since it’s the same city where his record producer mother (Frances McDormand) lives, he decides to stay in her house while hoping not to have to deal with the chasm that divides them. The ladies of AbFab have nothing on the differences between this mother and child, and through McDormand’s relationship with Alessandro Nivola and his attraction to Beckinsale, lots of complications ensue that reveal more than at first meets the eye. Meanwhile, Bale is having the hots for a senior intern (Natascha McElhone) that could also contribute to ruining his relationship. The film isn’t really about anything, but the relationships are realistically drawn and the dialogue excellent, brought to life by fantastic performances from the entire cast. McDormand has never been more attractive or interesting, and Bale makes his stick-in-the-mud character compelling without ever being annoying.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2002