Adapted from Elizabeth Wurtzel's memoir (unread by me, and despite its bestseller status it seems to be almost universally disliked) of depression and dysfunction at Harvard, Nation casts the always-watchable Christina Ricci as the self-absorbed author. The film doesn't exactly have a story; it's more about Elizabeth using college to gauge the depths of her mental instability. She writes in binges for the school paper, introduces countless substances into her system, and embarks on destructive relationships and non-relationships. Ricci, it must be said, displays skill and gusto in the areas of binging, abuse, and destruction; she throws herself into the part, though what she gets in return is questionable.
Continue reading: Prozac Nation Review
Terry Linden (Laura Dern) is the most wronged one here since it's English professor hubby Jack (Mark Ruffalo) who is stepping out on her with close friend Edith Evans (Naomi Watts) but, with her nagging nature and late-in-the-day histrionics, she fails to spark much sympathy. Edith's husband Hank (Peter Krause) doesn't seem quite as victimized by Edith's infidelity perhaps because he's hitting on Terry when the opportunity arises. Besides, there's already something distant in this marriage. Both couples have kids.
Continue reading: We Don't Live Here Anymore Review
Completed before American Beauty, this artificial little movie resembles it in every way possible, mainly because it examines the very same set of stereotypes about malfunctioning wealthy suburbanites. Vincent (Vincent Kartheiser), a sallow loner, follows Roseanne everywhere with his camera. Given the privilege to provide voice-over for most of the film, we hope that he is the voice of wisdom, or at least revelation in the story. Far from it: His philosophy is one of a self-possessed New Age spiritual guru who is convinced he can save Roseanne from hell she is living in. What Ricky was able to see with his lens in American Beauty revealed the hidden layers of human behavior. Vincent, by comparison, as well as the whole ensemble of characters in Crime + Punishment, goes through the plot's twists and turns without a single coherent thought in his head.
Continue reading: Crime Punishment In Suburbia Review