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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Heights (review)

Right off the bat, we’re assaulted by Glenn Close’s Broadway diva, who rages to her master class of wannabe thespians how we’re none of us passionate anymore, how we substitute iced mochachinos for emotion, or some such hotheaded nonsense. So of course you know instantly that the film’s title is going to refer to emotional heights, or the lack thereof, experienced or surpressed by this ensemble of sleekly attractive and dully restrained Manhattanites… and that Close’s outburst that opens the film will be the most dynamic the movie gets. This is a Merchant Ivory production, so perhaps that’s to be expected — but bottled-up angst somehow isn’t quite so attractive when it’s not pining away by the canals of Venice in the 19th century but rather over the sunset-gilded skyline of 21st-century New York. Oh, the cast is without a doubt superb: Close (The Stepford Wives) is glorious; the Elizabeth Shue-alike Elizabeth Banks (Seabiscuit) as her daughter is a revelation; Jesse Bradford (Eulogy), as one of Close’s protégèe;s, is as adorable as she suggests he is; delicious cameos by the likes of Isabella Rossellini, Eric Bogosian, and even singer Rufus Wainwright are the cherries on top. But that hole in Lower Manhattan that director Chris Terrio keeps proffering as perhaps Metaphoric of modern woundedness serves the opposite purpose: you want to tell them to just get over themselves already.

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MPAA: rated R for language, brief sexuality and nudity

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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