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Eden Reviews

The New Age meets the Age of Aquarius in this odd tale about a frustrated housewife with multiple sclerosis who begins having out-of-body experiences. The year is 1966, and young marrieds Helen and Bill Kunen (Joanna Going and Dylan Walsh) appear to have something close to a perfect life: He teaches at the prestigious Mt. Eden Academy, an elite prep school, and she stays at home with their two small children. The catch: Helen has MS, which requires a cumbersome leg brace and terrifies both of them with its degenerative potential. There's also the small matter of Dave Edgerton (Sean Patrick Flanery), a talented but directionless student nursing a deep crush on Helen and laboring under the burden of representing the youth movement: During the course of the film he plays guitar, reads Richard Farina's proto-hippie novel Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me, smokes pot, badmouths the establishment and makes the uneasy acquaintance of groovy '60s slang. Helen's adventures in astral projection, which begin with a dream of flying, quickly lead her to lose interest in housework, neglect her children, alienate her no-nonsense husband (whose motto is "don't give in") and begins to damage her health. Joanna Going's sensitive portrayal of Helen is this movie's one grace note, but as metaphors for the frustration felt by intelligent, ambitious women repressed by the limited demands of homemaking and serving on high-school dance committees, multiple sclerosis and out-of-body experiences err on the side of painful obviousness.