Guinevere

0
0
Subscribe to Sarah Polley alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th November 1999

Box Office Worldwide: $614.2 thousand

Budget: $2.6M

Distributed by: Miramax

Production compaines: Miramax Films, Millennium Films, Bandeira Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 30 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Sarah Polley as Harper Sloane, Stephen Rea as Connie Fitzpatrick, Jean Smart as Deborah Sloane, Gina Gershon as Billie, Paul Dooley as Walter, Carrie Preston as Patty, Tracy Letts as Zack, Emily Procter as Susan Sloane

Guinevere Movie Review


"Guinevere" is a perceptive story of self-discovery, starring the supremely natural Sarah Polley ("Go," "The Sweet Hereafter") as an unmolded, insecure, 20-year-old beauty whose complex, turbulent, sexual and artistic apprentice with a much older man (Stephen Rea) uncages her creative side and her confidence, long suppressed by her dysfunctional, passionless family.

Taking the initiative for the first time in her life, Harper (Polley) abandons her familial tradition of studying law at Harvard after being tenderly seduced by a photographer at a wedding, who recognizes potential in her that no one else has ever seen.

Connie (Rea) takes Harper under his wing, offering her a home in his studio loft in exchange for nothing more -- or so he says -- than her commitment to exploring the artist within under his tutelage.

But Harper soon finds -- as she and Connie consummate a more intimate relationship -- that this kind of mentorship is habitual for him. She meets Billie (Gina Gershon), a painter who was one of Connie's previous student lovers, who tells Harper of a string of susceptible young women like herself who he has influenced, educated, adored and ultimately disappointed.

Written and directed by Audrey Wells, who wrote "The Truth About Cats & Dogs," this picture is intelligent and honest in its exploration of a relationship that is not traditionally romantic and does not have any future, but is nonetheless something that helps Harper grow. It even argues that a young woman with few bearings can blossom in such a May-September romance if she falls in with the right man and keeps her heart in check.

Whether or not a ragged, homely, sad sack alcoholic with a knack for attaching himself to insecure girls can be the right man for such a learning experience is one of the questions "Guinevere" (the nickname Connie gives all his young lovers) explores. Harper eventually finds herself -- just as Billie had warned -- in the position of supporting the manipulative (if well-intentioned) Connie instead of the other way around.

The enormous age gap -- Connie is in his 50s -- invariably ignored in Hollywood movies where young hotties are cast opposite sexy dinosaurs (e.g. "Entrapment") is integral to the story here and it leads to the movie's most provocative scene in which Harper's mother -- played with pursed lips and embittered, resentful scorn by an astounding, Oscar-worthy Jean Smart ("Designing Women") -- confronts Connie about his addictions to booze and barely legal lovers. It's a scene that could easily have been one big cliche, but its flawlessly written and acted as she nails him with a single word and topples his carefully maintained self-delusions. It's a shocking moment.

"Guinevere" flails around a bit in the second half. Wells seems prone to forcing her actors out of character from time to time without realizing it, and she passes on a perfect opportunity to roll the credits, opting instead to tack on a laughable closing fantasy sequence that doesn't fit the film in any way, shape or form.

But by that point such mistakes, while disappointing, are trifling. That scene alone prevents the movie from being extraordinary, but it can't erase the frank, ardent story telling, the affection the characters inspire and the great, great performances.


Contactmusic

0
0
Subscribe to Sarah Polley alerts

Comments

Guinevere Rating

" OK "

Advertisement

More Sarah Polley

A Little Chaos Trailer

In the palace of Versailles, a tremendous garden is maintained. One day, the builder and head gardener sees an ordinary woman arriving at the palace,...

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy Album Review

The solo career of Mr Rice is not one you may realistically describe as that with which you may associate a prolific output. His is...

Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of Trailer

In the late 90's and early 00's, The Backstreet Boys were the most powerful boy band in the world. After discovering that they had not...

George The Poet - 1,2,1,2 (Dismantle Remix) Video

George The Poet unveils an audio for the Dismantle Remix of his single '1,2,1,2', taken from the tracks Remixes EP. The track has been produced...

Advertisement

Perfume Genius - Too Bright Album Review

Ever since the release of his debut LP 'Learning' back in 2010, Seattle's Perfume Genius has attracted increasing attention both publicly and critically. His piano...

The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School - O Come All Ye Faithful Video

The angelic voices of The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School perform a moving rendition of classic Christmas carol 'O Come All Ye Faithful'.

Jamie Scott - Last Christmas Video

Jamie Scott of London duo GRAFFITI6 performs an acoustic rendition of Wham!'s 1984 festive single 'Last Christmas' in a black and white one-take video. In...

Christina Aguilera Ft. Brian McKnight - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Video

In 2000, Christina Aguilera recorded a collection of some of her favourite Christmas songs and the sessions resulted in the album 'My Kind of Christmas',...

Advertisement