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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Private Lives Of Pippa Lee (2009)

A woman (Robin Wright Penn) married to an insensitive, much older man (Alan Arkin) reaches a crisis in her life when they move to a planned community for older people where she begins to feel stifled. Directed by Rebecca Miller (Arthur's daughter and Mrs. Daniel Day Lewis) from her novel, the film jumps back and forth at different times in Pippa's life with Blake Lively playing the younger incarnation of Pippa. Films about women going thru a personal journey of discovery and "finding themselves" were very popular in the 1970s (think DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE or AN UNMARRIED WOMAN or ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE) and this film would fit snugly in that era but it's the 2010s, not the 1970s, so there isn't anything really fresh here though the May-December marriage makes for an intriguing twist. Wright Penn (has she dropped the Penn?), one of the undervalued talents, is excellent but it's really a shared performance as Lively portrays Pippa for long stretches of time. Fortunately, Miller has assembled a strong supporting cast including Julianne Moore (playing yet another lesbian), Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Monica Bellucci (in the film's one shocking scene), Shirley Knight and Maria Bello.

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