This relatively short but powerful film presents three different stories about women having to make choices according their own personal velocity. The director is none other than Rebecca Miller, daughter of American playwright legend, Arthur Miller.
The film is based on a book of short stories written by Miller and it shows, particularly in the first story. The script uses voice-over narration which is a heavy-handed device that does a bit too much telling at the expense of letting the story reveal itself on film.
Interestingly, it is the final story which was written specifically for the film and not adapted from the book that is the most successful, simply because the drama has greater cinematic integrity. The film also brings the three story threads together at certain times but not in a way that really adds much to the idea.
The lead performances, from Kyra Sedgwick, Parker Posey and Fairuza Balk, are what carries the film despite the rather self-conscious script and slightly worthy intentions. In the third story, Balk as Paula, who is unwillingly pregnant, is especially notable but all the lead performances are memorable. Sedgwick has the rawest part as a battered wife in the first story. Posey is at her kooky and brittle best as a cook book editor living in the shadow of a successful father (a touch of autobiography, one guesses) in the film’s lighter story.
While its premise, that the world is full of bad men, is somewhat dated, there is enough truthfulness in the acting to make this satisfying if not easy viewing. And Miller has enough good ideas to suggest she may be able to carry off something more mature in future.