Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA, 2004. Hart-Sharp Entertainment, Fortissimo Films. Screenplay by Helen Schulman, Dylan Kidd, based on the novel by Helen Schulman. Cinematography by Joaquin Baca-Asay. Produced by Anne Chaisson, John Hart, Robert Kessel, Jeffrey Sharp. Music by Craig Wedren. Production Design by Stephen Beatrice. Costume Design by Amy Westcott. Film Editing by Kate Sanford. Toronto International Film Festival 2004.
Dylan Kidd follows up his enjoyable Roger Dodger with this unforgettable drama that is punctuated by moments of humour. Laura Linney is exceptional as an art professor at Columbia University who receives an application from a student (Topher Grace) who bears the same name and a more than slight physical resemblance to an old high school boyfriend. Immediately after meeting the young man, she begins an affair with him that makes her relive the days of her sexual awakening and also helps her realize that she has never really moved on since the first boyfriend’s death in a car accident many years before. Brilliantly scripted by Kidd and Helen Schulman from her own novel, this film features some of the best dialogue of the year (the scene where Linney has it out with best friend Marcia Gay Harden in a hotel room is as perfect as writing gets) and investigates the inner life of a woman’s psyche in a way that hearkens back to classic films like An Unmarried Woman. Grace is also quite a marvel, breaking out of the mould of silly television show teen star and giving a performance of enormous gravity that also displays impressive chemistry and intimacy with his co-star. Lois Smith, Paul Rudd and Gabriel Byrne complete the excellent supporting cast, though it’s Linney’s show all the way and she is a marvel, her best role since 2000’s You Can Count On Me.