Combustible Celluloid
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With: Sarah Polley, Stephen Rea, Jean Smart, Gina Gershon, Sandra Oh, Paul Dooley, Francis Guinan, Carrie Preston, Tracy Letts, Emily Procter, Sharon McNight
Written by: Audrey Wells
Directed by: Audrey Wells
MPAA Rating: R for strong language and sexuality
Running Time: 104
Date: 03/19/2013

Guinevere (1999)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Searching for Self

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Audrey Wells, the screenwriter of The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1996), makes her writing and directing debut with Guinevere, a May-December romance. Sarah Polley (The Sweet Hereafter, Go) plays the outcast in a family of San Francisco lawyers. At a wedding, she becomes interested in a much older photographer, Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, The Butcher Boy). He sweeps her away and encourages her to find an artistic outlet to express herself. The romance continues in an engaging way, with realistic talk and a warts-and-all approach. The best scene comes when Polley's mother, played by Jean Smart, pays a visit and explains to them her theory on their relationship. Guinevere has a sturdy independent look, forgoing the glossy, homogenized look of The Truth About Cats and Dogs, but I was unaware that it had been shot in San Francisco until about 90 minutes into the film, which is too bad. But I like that Guinevere gives us a working relationship in progress rather than the usual Hollywood sitcom trying to keep its lovers apart until the final payoff.

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