Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1997. Eureka Pictures, Good Machine. Screenplay by Bart Freundlich. Cinematography by Stephen Kazmierski. Produced by Bart Freundlich, Tim Perell, Mary Jane Skolski. Music by David Bridie, John Phillips. Production Design by Susan Bolles. Costume Design by Lucy W. Corrigan. Film Editing by Ken J. Sackheim, Kate Williams. Independent Spirit Awards 1997. Toronto International Film Festival 1997.
Absorbing but icy drama about a family whose dysfunctions appear impossible to untangle. Blythe Danner and Roy Scheider are the parents whose children all seem to be alienated from their lives for various reasons: Julianne Moore can only see the bad things in her life, Michael Vartan loves his girlfriend (Hope Davis) but can’t commit, Noah Wyle left home after a bad breakup with the woman of his dreams (Arija Bareikis) and hasn’t been able to function ever since, and Laurel Holloman is the youngest daughter whose problems are unclear beyond the fact that she’s more than slightly irritating. This wonderful collection of actors never disappoints you, but the film’s premature ending will; still, Bart Freundlich ably directs for the first time, and Moore’s scenes are the best of those on offer.