movie film review | chris tookey

Personal Velocity: Three Portraits

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  Personal Velocity: Three Portraits Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
6.13 /10
Delia: Kyra Sedgwick (pictured) , Greta: Parker Posey , Paula: Fairuza Balk
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Directed by: Rebecca Miller
Written by: Rebecca Miller

Released: 2002
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 0

Three well-crafted portraits of women.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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A promising first picture by writer-director Rebecca Miller, daughter of playwright Arthur and wife of actor Daniel Day-Lewis.

It's cheaply shot with very little visual flair, and the overuse of narration makes it too much like an illustrated reading. Structurally, the attempt to weave the three stories together by means of a traffic accident - a device she seems to have pinched from the Mexican hit Amores Perros - is so perfunctory that it barely registers.

However, Kyra Sedgwick, one of Hollywood's finest and most underrated actresses, is outstanding as a woman who escapes her abusive husband with only her children and sex appeal to keep her going.

Parker Posey is also excellent as a wife rediscovering her career ambitions and falling out of love with her nice but boring husband. Fairuza Balk has the easiest, but least rewarding role, as a tough punk discovering to her surprise that she has maternal feelings.

The films are almost too truthful about the dark side of the human condition to be entertaining, and they are probably too literary and self-consciously feminist for popular taste. But though they have an over-familiar agenda of empowerment, they have a subtlety and thoughtfulness that raise them high above most feminist drama.

All three stories will strike a chord with many women. For my money, Personal Velocity is better acted, less depressing and considerably more profound than The Hours.

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