In the intricate ensemble think-piece "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing," karma-fueled philosophical allegories revolve around contentment, resentfulness, self-fulfillment and other cinematic soul-food themes.

An intelligent, earnest, intimate film that drops the ball only when it pauses for blunt exposition to make sure you're getting its metaphysical point, this second effort from the writing-directing sisters Karen and Jill Sprechter ("Clockwatchers") consists of a knotted string of stories that are not necessarily profound or even all that memorable. But it's a movie with such realistic characters and humbly consequential performances that it leaves a subconscious impression nevertheless.

The interwoven vignettes imagined by the Sprechters begin with a punctilious, moth-eaten academic (John Turturro) leaving his wife (Amy Irving) after a mugging that leads him to decide he's been living an unsatisfying life. But soon he's even more frustrated because he hasn't a clue how to find that missing satisfaction.

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