I love short stories. I read a lot of them and write a few as well. The beauty of a short story lies in its ability to connect with the reader in such a raw manner. There are hardly buildups or character definitions. The length of a short story does not allow this luxury. The author should be able to strike that chord with the reader in those brief pages. And there in lies, both the beauty and the challenge of a good short story.
You must be wondering why I am talking about short stories in a movie review. Well, this movie is just that. A collection of nine vignettes portraying women of different age, backgrounds and lifestyle. As the saying goes "the apple does not fall far from the tree". Rodrigo Garcia is the son of the legendary Colombia writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez (Am a huge fan). Marquez is an absolute genius when it comes to the portrayal of human emotions. Rodrigo Garcia is just as accomplished. But film is his chosen medium of expression.
The movie boasts of an incredible cast of actors including Robin Wright-Penn, Holly Hunter, Glenn Close, Dakota Fanning and more. Each of them appear in a vignette which captures a slice of their life. In each of those short 10-15 minutes Rodrigo Garcia manages to say more than what most movies do in their entire length.
The 'nine lives' portrayed in it share a beautiful undertone of poignancy. It is that what makes us feel connected with each of these characters.
My favorite one among these was the one with Robin Wright-Penn. Ms Penn is one of those actresses who make acting seem so easy (She has one of the best smiles ever). There never a hint of strain or rehearsal.
The clip shows Ms Penn, a married and pregnant woman, running into her ex-lover at a grocery store (Reminded me of the Dan Fogelberg song "Same Auld Lang Syne"). The subtle nature in which Ms Penn portrays a woman trying to hold back a flood of emotions and trying to act coy, is outstanding. She uses all her elements to convey the turmoil which the character is going through. Whether it is the quickly diverted glance or the measured sentences, it leaves us with a heavy heart.
Rest of the 'lives' range from a teenage girl who is the bridge between her at loggerheads parents, to the woman who is petrified of her operation. These vignettes (I love this word) capture the different shades of a woman in a manner which very few have.
My rating: 4 out of 5