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A glimpse into the lives of nine women. Sandra (Elpida Carrillo) is a prisoner in jail, anxious to see her visiting child; Diana (Robin Wright Penn) is confronted by a past relationship; Holly (Lisa Gay Hamilton) needs an admission from her stepfather; Sonia (Holly Hunter) is devastated by her boyfriend's disclosure of an intimate secret to friends; Samantha (Amanda Seyfreid) is caught between her sparring parents; Lorna (Amy Brenneman) attempts to comfort her ex-husband after his wife's suicide; Ruth (Sissy Spacek) is about to commit adultery; Camille (Kathy Baker) faces the uncertainty of major surgery; Maggie (Glenn Close) goes to a cemetery for a picnic with daughter Maria (Dakota Fanning).

Review by Louise Keller:
Loss is the common thread that binds the women in these nine snapshots that involve us in their intricate lives. Although a character occasionally appears in more than one story, the stories are not connected in any other way except by theme, and writer director Rodrigo García tackles each one in real time, prompting a sense of immediacy. Some stories work beautifully, while others are dull and hardly capture our interest. Each segment however, provides an interesting platform for actresses of varying ages, including Robin Wright Penn, Sissy Spacek, Kathy Baker, Glenn Close and Holly Hunter.

My favourite story takes place in a supermarket, in which Robin Wright Penn's pregnant Diana runs into Damian (Jason Isaacs) with whom she has obviously shared a past. It begins with small talk, before intimacies are revealed. 'Five minutes with you and I feel as though my life is a figment of my imagination,' Diana confesses as they wander past shelves pushing a trolley. There are other confessions and the moment when Damian says goodbye by kissing her pregnant stomach has more poignancy than words could ever describe. I was also taken by the unusual story of Amy Brenneman's Lorna, who comforts her ex husband at the funeral of his recently suicided second wife. There's a helplessness about the situation as William Fichtner's Andrew is deaf and dumb and their communication through sign language includes his unexpected and improper feelings for her.

García explores vastly different issues as women suffer the loss of trust, a relationship, health or a loved one. Despite the precious emotional states of all the women, their stories are mostly far from morbid as we gain a sense of who they are. Even the location of the graveyard in which Glenn Close's Maggie picnics with her daughter (Dakota Fanning) becomes philosophical rather than depressing in the final story. This is a pensive film whose drama comes from within the characters as a glimpse into their lives and characters is revealed.

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(US, 2005)

CAST: Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Glenn Close, Dakota Fanning, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Holly Hunter, Molly Parker, Mary Kay Place, Sydney Tamiia Poiter, Sissy Spacek, Robin Wright Penn

PRODUCER: Julie Lynn

DIRECTOR: Rodrigo García

SCRIPT: Rodrigo García

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Xavier Pérez Grobet

EDITOR: Andrea Folprecht

MUSIC: Ed Shearmur


RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Melbourne: May 1, 2008; Sydney: June 12, 2008 (Dendy Newtown)

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