Imaginary Crimes

Overview

Usually cast in showy or unsympathetic supporting roles, Harvey Keitel here gets the rare chance to play a leading role as a "nice guy" -- albeit a nice guy with some serious problems -- in this family drama. Ray Weiler Keitel is the widowed father of two girls, high school senior Sonya Fairuza Balk and her younger sister Greta Elizabeth Moss. Ray is full of get-rich-quick schemes that never quite pan out and often skirt the edges of the law. While it's obvious that he loves his daughters, he's hardly a healthy ...
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Overview

Usually cast in showy or unsympathetic supporting roles, Harvey Keitel here gets the rare chance to play a leading role as a "nice guy" -- albeit a nice guy with some serious problems -- in this family drama. Ray Weiler Keitel is the widowed father of two girls, high school senior Sonya Fairuza Balk and her younger sister Greta Elizabeth Moss. Ray is full of get-rich-quick schemes that never quite pan out and often skirt the edges of the law. While it's obvious that he loves his daughters, he's hardly a healthy role model, and Sonya and Greta both know it -- dealing with bill collectors and angry investors who've dumped money into one of their father's schemes is just a part of life at the Weiler household. Ray has enrolled Sonya in a private school that he can't actually afford, but he's certain his latest mining venture is going to bring him some real money. Mr. Webster Vincent D'Onofrio, one of Sonya's teachers, thinks she has a real gift as a writer and should go on to college. Sonya, however, knows that Ray would be against it -- and even if he did approve, how would they pay for it? Meanwhile, Ray seems to have found a backer for his latest mining project -- a man named Jarvis Chris Penn -- but one of his partners starts to get cold feet, and Jarvis looks like a man who does not take disappointment well.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
Between the urban romance and melodrama of Zebrahead and the pervasive misanthropy of Hurlyburly, director Anthony Drazan filmed this nostalgic, melancholy coming-of-age story about an aspiring writer and her deadbeat father. Starring Fairuza Balk in a role not too dissimilar from her character in Gas Food Lodging, Imaginary Crimes plays like an amalgam of Author, Author, This Boy's Life, and Paper Moon. Harvey Keitel hits the right note of dogged, starry-eyed optimism in his portrayal of Ray Weiler, a struggling father and would-be inventor who doesn't quite realize that he's a con man. Meanwhile, in a series of flashbacks cleverly staged as the protagonist's sepia-tinged short stories, Kelly Lynch nails the resignation of Ray's disappointed, dying wife. The supporting class is equally fine, especially future Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Amber Benson as Sonya's mischievous, empathetic best friend. Vincent D'Onofrio is stuck with an underwritten role as the girls' stern but saintly creative writing teacher, but he does what he can with it. Meanwhile, young Elisabeth Moss keeps her cuteness in check as Greta, Sonya's grave younger sister. Some fans of Sheila Ballantyne's 1982 source novel complained that Kristine Johnson and Davia Nelson's screenplay glossed over some of the author's subtle, non-judgemental tone. Despite any liberties the adaptation may take with the book, however, this is a thoughtful, subtle film with plenty of layers.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/10/1997
  • UPC: 085391373933
  • Original Release: 1994
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Harvey Keitel Ray Weiler
Fairuza Balk Sonya
Kelly Lynch Valery
Vincent D'Onofrio Mr. Webster
Diane Baker Abigail Tate
Chris Penn Jarvis
Amber Benson Margaret
Elisabeth Moss Greta
Seymour Cassel Eddie
Annette O'Toole Ginny Rucklehaus
Deborah Aquila
Samuel Fuller
Richard Venture Judge Klein
William G. Schilling Mr Garrity
Luke Reilly Everett
Peggy Gormley Mrs Cole
Chad Burton Vern
Jefferson Davis Test Centre Teacher
Greg Germann Mr Drew
Stephen Clark Pachosa Reno Man
Roger Wilson Reno Man
Jeffrey DeMunn D.A
J.R. Knotts Foreman
Technical Credits
Anthony Drazan Director
Deborah Aquila Casting
Gary Barber Executive Producer
John J. Campbell Cinematographer
Robert W. Cort Executive Producer
Stephen Endelman Score Composer
Ted Field Executive Producer
Linda Fox Asst. Director
Joseph T. Garrity Production Designer
Kristine Johnson Co-producer, Screenwriter
Elizabeth Kling Editor
Scott Kroopf Producer
Susan Lyall Costumes/Costume Designer
Davia Nelson Co-producer, Screenwriter
James G. Robinson Producer
Jane Shannon Casting
Pat Tagliaferro Art Director
Mark Ulano Sound/Sound Designer
Stan Wlodkowski Co-producer
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