Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2002. Peer Oppenheimer Production Inc.. Screenplay by Karen Moncrieff. Cinematography by Rob Sweeney. Produced by Peer J. Oppenheimer, Amy Sommer, David Waters. Music by Adam Gorgoni. Production Design by Kristan Andrews. Costume Design by Kristan Andrews. Film Editing by Toby Yates.
Agnes Bruckner plays a teenage girl who is having a spectacularly difficult time adjusting to her parents’ bitter divorce while also trying to keep up with her studies in order to survive the friction that has developed between herself, her little sister and her mother (Margaret Colin). Her English teacher (David Strathairn) is so impressed with her beautiful poetry that he insists on spending time working with her on her lunch breaks as preparation for a nationwide contest that he is certain she would have a good chance at. The story really should be about the role of art and its influence on a person’s destiny, but director Karen Moncrieff cheats her lead character (and the audience) of this satisfaction by going the route of your typical television movie of the week. There’s nothing really to recommend this film except for the fantastic performances by Bruckner, who is astoundingly natural, and Colin, who makes a very compelling case for her very unlikeable character.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2002