Nevada

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

NEVADA is the sort of overheated psychodrama that gives feminism a bad name, and feminist movies a worse one. An attractive woman named Chrysty (Amy Brenneman) enters a tiny Nevada settlement called Silver, populated almost entirely by females. The men in town work for weeks at a time on a dam that will make the parched community a vast reservoir, and thus...read more

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NEVADA is the sort of overheated psychodrama that gives feminism a bad name, and feminist movies a worse one.

An attractive woman named Chrysty (Amy Brenneman) enters a tiny Nevada settlement called Silver, populated almost entirely by females. The men in town work for weeks at a time on a dam that will make the parched community a vast reservoir, and thus the women spend idle hours in the town, under the

thumb of self-styled sheriff McGill (Kirstie Alley). Chrysty assists housewife June (Bridgette Wilson) in giving birth; June has had many children of different races, and her chronic faithlessness is all the more glaring because her husband Rip (James Wilder) is impotent. Despite this helpful deed

and the fact that Chrysty gets a steady job delivering milk in the town, McGill continues to cast a suspicious eye on her. McGill does some digging and finds that the sexy stranger is a runaway housewife from Idaho. McGill phones Chrysty's husband West (Angus MacFadyen) who drives to Silver with

their three children to force a reconciliation. Instead West is attacked by Rip, who declares himself in love with Chrysty, and then is surrounded by the women of Silver--including a rifle-toting McGill--who stand in solidarity with Chrysty's bid for freedom. Urged even by his own children to give

up, West retreats, leaving Chrysty to mope in scenic splendor.

Gorgeous to look at and vapid at its core, NEVADA opens with Chrysty sashaying into Silver on such a ponderously solemn note that an air of pretension is virtually guaranteed. From Ibsen's A Doll's House onwards, dramatists have explored the stifling bonds of marriage and championed heroines who

flee it, but somehow American moviemakers seem uniquely ham-handed when they portray distaff domestic desertion as a courageous revolutionary act. Sympathy for NEVADA's heroine completely dries up with the news that Chrysty fled the hearth just because a son cursed her for ruining the meatloaf.

While husband "West" (symbolism runs rampant here) is an underwritten, unshaven nonentity, he still seems undeserving of the shabby treatment accorded him by the sisterly lynch mob in the finale. Brenneman, wearing immaculate mascara and various sexy dresses, is too young and glamorous for the

kitchen refugee she plays; ditto for nearly everyone else in the cast (exception: a bloated and blowsy Alley). Female viewers may be more receptive to NEVADA, if only because they will get a laugh from the film's apparent contention that multiple births and shack hovels do wonders for one's

complexion. The inevitable lesbian subtext is present but marginal, and the near-nudity in certain scenes has all the erotic power of a mid-1960s sexploitation feature. The soundtrack, for reasons best known to the filmmakers, contains several repetitions of the traditional tune "Danny Boy."

(Adult situations, sexual situations, substance abuse, profanity)

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: NEVADA is the sort of overheated psychodrama that gives feminism a bad name, and feminist movies a worse one. An attractive woman named Chrysty (Amy Brenneman) enters a tiny Nevada settlement called Silver, populated almost entirely by females. The men in… (more)

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