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The Myth of Fingerprints Reviews

A portrait of a quietly miserable family gathered for Thanksgiving, this film marks the astonishingly assured debut of writer-director Bart Freundlich. Scattered siblings Warren (ER's Noah Wyle), Mia (Julianne Moore) and Jake (Michael Vartan), more or less reluctantly converge on the gracious home of parents Hal and Lena (Roy Scheider and Blythe Danner) for the holidays. In addition, youngest sister Leigh (Laurel Holloman), a student, is still living at home; Mia and Jake have brought along unwitting significant others Tom (Christopher Duva) and Margaret (Hope Davis); and Warren's old flame Daphne (Arija Bareikis) is back in town to see her family. There's not much in the way of action: a trip to the book store here, a cup of coffee at the local diner there, and that's about it. But over the course of a tense weekend defined by a series of throat-clenching meals, each attractive, apparently pulled-together sibling reveals deep-rooted insecurities and faces the consequences of the choices they've made, sometimes without even realizing what they've done. Written with a keen ear for the nuances of family communication and realized through amazing ensemble performances, this low-key drama is almost painful to watch: That it was written and directed by a 26-year-old makes its subtle intuition just that little bit more amazing. It's probably not the last word in WASP angst, but it's eloquent, witty, graceful and as sharp as can be.