Dave's Rating:

3.5

Confessions of a Pretty Lady

Who's In It:Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin, Winona Ryder, Maria Bello, Keanu Reeves, Blake Lively, Julianne Moore, Zoe Kazan, Monica Bellucci

The Basics: Pippa Lee grows up with a smothering mom who's hooked on dolls, runs off to live with her cool lesbian aunt for a bit (until the aunt's kinked-out girlfriend decides to turn Pippa into a fetish-porn vixen), then she hops into bed with a hundred-year-old rich guy, steals him away from his suicidal heiress wife, marries him and makes two kids that grow up to hate her. Then, having secured and successfully maintained all of those non-functional relationships, she falls in love with born-again Christian convenience store clerk Keanu Reeves.

What's The Deal: Sometimes you just want to watch an earnest indie about rich white people and their emotional problems. And when you want to see something like that you hope for one of two things: that they will be so movie-rich that you'll get all the entertainment you need just from looking at their furniture (check out Monica Bellucci's classy Jean Prouve dining room chairs, for example) or that the lead actor will carry you through it and somehow make you give a damn even though you know it's a lot of baloney. This one gives you both, so chalk one up for the rich white people.

Who Makes It Work: Robin Wright Penn. First, in these insane times of brutal face mutilation and its jarring, distracting effects on screen, she's beautiful in that Susan Sarandon way where you know that if she's had any cosmetic modifications engineered on her face that they were minimal and non-invasive. She looks like she's allowing herself to age like an actual human being instead of like almost every other woman in Hollywood (and most of the men, too, except for maybe Tommy Lee Jones). More importantly, she's a warm empathy magnet and even in the silliest, most shallow emotional moments this film has to offer (like the dorky "I'm going to go find ME" ending) she still gets your vote.

Responsible Party: Director Rebecca Miller, who's less a visual artist than a low-key therapist who digs out occasionally meaningful (but still kind of chilly) revelations from her characters. You want more than you get, but if it comes down to a choice between too reserved and oversharing, I'll take the former every time.

People To Watch: Zoe Kazan as the bitter-for-no-reason daughter. She turns on a dime but you forgive her for that awkward move because her hatefulness is so entertaining. She's Elia Kazan's granddaughter and also currently in Me and Orson Welles and the upcoming It's Complicated. Meanwhile, Winona Ryder has all the best "I'm From Crazy Town" scenes in the movie, so you'll want to see her do that.

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