Guinevere

We're so used to movies that nonchalantly pair young women and much older men, then go on to tell stories about something else entirely, that it's genuinely jarring see one that's actually about the relationship, in this case between a teenager and a middle-aged sot. Harvard-bound Harper Sloane (Sarah Polley) feels invisible; her wealthy, embittered parents...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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We're so used to movies that nonchalantly pair young women and much older men, then go on to tell stories about something else entirely, that it's genuinely jarring see one that's actually about the relationship, in this case between a

teenager and a middle-aged sot. Harvard-bound Harper Sloane (Sarah Polley) feels invisible; her wealthy, embittered parents and accomplished older sister — all lawyers — are wrapped up in some vaguely Oedipal wrangle, and there's no place for her in the tight-lipped sturm und

drang. Desperately slugging champagne at her sister's wedding, Harper comes face to face with the official photographer, Connie (Stephen Rea). He's hardly a dream date; he's old enough to be her father — he's actually older than her parents. He's perpetually broke, drinks too much

and is none too handsome. In fact, he looks like a junkyard dog. But Connie sees what Harper needs: Someone to pay attention, to tell her she's special, be the sun to her silvery moon. He in turn wants to be looked up to; he needs a Galatea who'll welcome being shaped and guided. He calls Harper

his inspiration, his Guinevere. He photographs her nude, swears he wants nothing from her but that she take herself seriously. Their turbulent affair infuriates Harper's family, titillates her friends and finally, inevitably, disappoints and disillusions her; she is, after all, only the most

recent in a string of Guineveres, all of whom eventually wised up and moved on. In this more mainstream variation on the emotional terrain covered in the indie ART FOR TEACHERS OF CHILDREN, writer-director Audrey Wells (THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS) deftly mixes rueful sentimentality and

trenchant observations about the constantly shifting balance of power that drives relationships in which nothing — not beauty, experience, money, health or self-awareness — are equal.

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