Passion of Mind

"Grim"

Passion of Mind Review


French director Alain Berliner stepped briefly into the limelight a couple of years ago with the impressive Ma Vie en Rose, a colorful look at a young boy who thinks he's a girl. Just as the poor boy's uncertainty tears at his family, Demi Moore's confusion rips her life in half in Berliner's follow-up, Passion of Mind. Her angst and desperation are actually right in step with the audience's feelings, in this aimless, underachieving film.

Moore's character has two lives: Marty lives in hard, bleak New York as a single, nervy, literary agent; Marie is a widowed mother of two in lush, romantic Provence. When she sleeps in one life, she dreams of the other, and yet cannot determine which is real. As Berliner introduces Marty/Marie and her dilemma, it's obvious that Passion of Mind will follow in the thematic footsteps of other similar, bland movies like Sliding Doors. A woman has two parallel lives - what if both are just too flat-out boring to be a movie?

In France, Marie begins falling for a struggling writer, played by the moody, hard-working Stellan SkarsgÄrd; in New York, Marty bonds with an accountant, played by the intense William Fichtner (so great in last year's Go). Berliner spends the first half of the movie jetting between the two "lives", bringing the couples together, but what's missing from Ron Bass' script is "connection": those intriguing story threads that could have us looking for clues in one life as to what might happen in the other, creating a tight structure of personalities in the process. From the sometimes snooty air of the story, there's a sense that such easy devices might be beneath the filmmakers. So instead, we get two separate love stories, mediocre at best, and sapped of all potential.

The second, somewhat fractured, half of the film gains a little ground as Marty/Marie tells both lovers of her ongoing mental dilemma. She sleeps with both, but won't share a room with either, fearing she'll awaken unnaturally and lose the other life. As our confused heroine analyzes her certain insanity, we get a sort of fourth-dimension love triangle, with a strong female character genuinely enjoying her polygamy. Unfortunately, Berliner doesn't have the guts to examine that part of the story, as say, Spike Lee did in She's Gotta Have It. Instead, he just chalks up her cheating to the fact that she exists on separate planes. And frankly, by this time, we've lost interest anyway.

Skarsgard handles his role with the insight and honesty that fans of his are coming to expect, and Fichtner is piercing as always. Demi Moore, however, seems out of practice, making already poor dialogue sound more contrived than it already is, looking and sounding like some parallel version of Courteney Cox.

Lacking subtlety where it could use some, and punch where it should be, Passion of Mind becomes a 100-minute picture postcard of two cities, rather than a probing blueprint of a tortured woman's mind. If the promising Berliner doesn't choose future material more carefully, he may wish that he was another director in some parallel universe.

Out of sight, out of Mind.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th January 2000

Distributed by: Paramount Home Video

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 17%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 29

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Aaron Reilly, as Martha Marie / 'Marty' Talridge


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with...

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

With a spectacular setting and two solid actors on-screen, this thriller builds enough solid suspense...

Cub Movie Review

Cub Movie Review

At a time when horror movies seem to only want to make the audience jump,...

Inside Out Movie Review

Inside Out Movie Review

Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...

Advertisement
Southpaw Movie Review

Southpaw Movie Review

Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...

Eden Movie Review

Eden Movie Review

Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...

The Gallows Movie Review

The Gallows Movie Review

Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...

Self/Less Movie Review

Self/Less Movie Review

An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...

Advertisement