5 December 2009 | moonspinner55
"I wish I loved myself as much as he does!"
Talia Shire plays a troubled psychologist with a bad marriage behind her who decides to look up three former flames from her school days. The purpose: to reconnect with the person she was in order to understand the person she's become. Leonard and Paul Schrader penned this curious, tentative, occasionally thudding but often interesting feminine odyssey, a kind of 1970s retread of a Jean Simmons vehicle from the 1960s. Shire has pretty eyes and a beguiling, girlish smile, but her pinched, benumbed manner is off-putting, and the different personalities she affects with each successive man is more perplexing than intriguing. There's a funny, feminist-revenge bit involving John Belushi that is well done, but is that this woman's plan: to be a vengeful bitch? She's brittle and mysterious with single dad Richard Jordan and Adrian-like with psych-case Keith Carradine, but which lady are we supposed to be drawn to? Director Joan Tewkesbury, making her debut behind the camera after penning the acclaimed screenplay for Robert Altman's "Nashville", is typically cautious for a first-time filmmaker; she keeps a steady pace, but her apparent insistence on being enigmatic regarding the central character (and her background) eventually backfires. The film is excruciatingly tasteful (aside from the Belushi episode) and visually washed out, but it surprisingly isn't a man-hater's movie. It does a provide a prince in the end (a prince this psychologist might not deserve), yet it stays grounded and isn't too flighty or vindictive. ** from ****