Afterglow

Julie Christie is glorious, and that's most of what you need to know about this slight, loosely structured and self-consciously ironic soap opera in which two couples -- one young and troubled, the other older but hardly wiser -- get themselves into a series of fine messes. Portentously named middle-aged contractor Lucky Mann (Nick Nolte) is married to...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Julie Christie is glorious, and that's most of what you need to know about this slight, loosely structured and self-consciously ironic soap opera in which two couples -- one young and troubled, the other older but hardly wiser -- get themselves into a

series of fine messes. Portentously named middle-aged contractor Lucky Mann (Nick Nolte) is married to the still-glamorous Phyllis (Christie), a former B-movie actress reduced to watching her old movies in a hypochondriacal funk. Rocked to its foundations by a bitter argument that drove their teen

daughter to run away, their marriage is stuck in an arid and soul-destroying rut. Marianne (Lara Flynn Boyle) and Jeffrey (Jonny Lee Miller) are, to all appearances, the embodiment of a successful young couple, but under the facade they're miserable. She wants a baby, he doesn't; he's rising

through the corporate ranks but drawn to thoughts of self-destruction. Marianne hires Lucky to design and build a nursery for the child she hopes to have; they're soon locked in a passionate embrace. Jeffrey and Phyllis, meanwhile, cross paths while searching for their errant spouses and commence

a prolonged and steamy flirtation of their own. Rudolph's script takes its own sweet time getting nowhere in particular, and Boyle is a fidgety bundle of sadly affected Audrey Hepburn mannerisms. But she's the cast's only weak link: Nolte brings unforced sensuality to the role of Lucky, while the

icily handsome Miller gives Jeffrey surprising depth and pathos. Christie's brilliantly nuanced performance is pure magic: When Phyllis sees that Lucky has wallpapered Marianne's nursery in the same design he chose for their missing daughter when she was a child, Christie conjures up a lifetime of

heartbreak without appearing to do anything at all. And she looks marvelous.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Julie Christie is glorious, and that's most of what you need to know about this slight, loosely structured and self-consciously ironic soap opera in which two couples -- one young and troubled, the other older but hardly wiser -- get themselves into a ser… (more)

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