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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Simian Line (review)

The simian line is a crease in the hand of rare individuals that palm readers interpret to mean the bearer too easily confuses the needs of the heart and the demands of the head. Katherine (Lynn Redgrave: All I Wanna Do), a middle-aged New Jersey real-estate broker, bears this line… or so fortune teller Arnita (Tyne Daly) informs her, and the conflict between reason and emotion is threatening her relationship with Rick (Harry Connick Jr.: My Dog Skip), her decades-younger artist lover. Hearts and heads are at odds throughout this charming, just slightly off-kilter romantic drama in which psychic prognostication is merely a metaphor for the insecurities that become self-fulfilling prophecies dooming love, and real live dead ghosts oversee the proceedings, dealing with insecurities of their own. At a Halloween dinner party, Arnita predicts that one of the couples there will not greet the new year together a few months hence: Will it be Katherine and Rick? Yuppies Paul (Jamey Sheridan: Life as a House) and Sandra (Cindy Crawford)? Punky musicians Marta (Monica Keena: Devil’s Advocate) and Billy (Dylan Bruno: Saving Private Ryan)? Or might it even be the household ghosts, Civil War-era Edward (William Hurt: A.I. Artificial Intelligence) and flapper Mae (Samantha Mathis: The Mists of Avalon)? The dramatic view of Manhattan, across the river from the digs of these neighbors, seems to fight it out with the cozy old Victorian homes of Weehawken. Is the grass always greener? Or is a love on the rocks worth fighting for? We grownups need more of this kind of silly, sweet, knowing romantic movie.

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MPAA: rated R for language and some sexuality

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
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