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Posted October 1, 2010
A Meditation on Death and Dying: Reconstructing a Family
Bruce Wagner's screen adaptation of his novel I'M LOSING YOU has some of the more intelligent dialogue to be encountered in a film. Since Wagner also directed this little gem, brimming over with excellent actors, we can be assured that his message of death as a necessary component in the cycle of life is intact. Despite the dour content of the story this film actually leads to a credible sense of how deaths can ultimately be redemptive: it is all in how vulnerable we allow ourselves to become in coping with this life change. The story is focused on a wealthy Los Angeles family headed by television producer of sci-fi series Perry Krohn (Frank Langella), married to a psychiatrist Diantha (Salome Jens) despite having a 'helper' mistress Mona (Amanda Donahue), 'stepfather' of a disillusioned daughter Rachel (Rosanna Arquette) and a has-been actor son Bertie (Andrew McCarthy) who makes a living selling back insurance policies to AIDS patients: the father has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer and his attempts to set his will in order is the catalyst for the story. The son is separated from his ex-wife, a disturbed addicted woman Lidia (Gina Gershon) and the two fight over custody of their young child Tiffany (Aria Noelle Curzon). Complicating matters is the fact that Rachel has never been told until now that her biologic father murdered her mother and committed suicide AND that her stepfather had a onetime sexual fling with her mother. Things begin to consistently fall apart: the son falls in love with one of the AIDS victims, Aubrey (Elizabeth Perkins), to whom he sells insurance who has a son and lives in horror that she will soon die and her son will be abandoned. About this same time Tiffany is killed in an automobile accident, the fault of her drugged out mother, and Rachel embraces her Jewish heritage by learning how to perform the body cleansing ritual performed as a loving act on the dead - the dead being Tiffany. And at this peak of crises, Aubrey dies in a hospital, succumbing to every complication known to AIDS. How this fractured family comes together in the midst of all these losses and lifetime barriers to communication serves as the resolution of this complex but infinitely interesting story. The actors all give bravura performances, relishing the smart dialogue and the multilayered meanings to each encounter captured by the fine cinematographer Rob Sweeney. This may not be a film for everyone, but for those seeking more form a film than entertainment will find much food for thought here. Recommended. Grady HarpWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
He Only Has Himself To Blame
Bruce Wagner -- who wrote the novel on which this movie is based, and then wrote the screenplay for and directed the movie -- lost all of the zest of his book when he transferred it to the screen. NONE of the book's fun or wit is present in this movie, which is very sombre, slow-moving, and disjointed. Rather than a biting social satire of everything that is wrong with L.A. and the movie business, with a serious overlay of spirituality and mortality (which was the book), this movie instead is just a Bergman flick on downers. Pass.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.