Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her

  • 2001
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Drama

An imaginatively constructed soap-opera with a high-powered cast, this film follows several narrative threads, all involving unfulfilled Los Angeles women who find inner peace after learning there are worse things than loneliness. Forever setting herself up for defeat, Dr. Elaine Keener (Glenn Close) cares for her elderly mother (Irma St. Paule) and barrages...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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An imaginatively constructed soap-opera with a high-powered cast, this film follows several narrative threads, all involving unfulfilled Los Angeles women who find inner peace after learning there are worse things than loneliness. Forever setting herself up for defeat, Dr. Elaine Keener (Glenn Close) cares for her elderly mother (Irma St. Paule) and barrages an indifferent lover with phone calls. Dr. Keener consults a fortune-teller, Christine (Calista Flockhart), who's distracted by worry over her own lover, Lilly's (Valeria Golino), failing health, but zeros in on Dr. Keener’s controlling nature and predicts a younger lover in her future. Bank manager Rebecca (Holly Hunter) seems to lead a less stressful life than Dr. Keener, to whom she goes for an abortion. But Rebecca’s self-confidence dissipates after the procedure, leading her to question her long-term affair with the married man who impregnated her. Divorcee Rose (Kathy Baker), who writes children's book, is raising her teenage son and has little time for a social life. She finds herself filled with romantic longing for her new neighbor, a dwarf named Albert (Danny Woodburn) who works at Dr. Keener’s clinic. Albert returns Rose's affections cautiously. Police detective Kathy (Amy Brenneman), who's devoted to her blind sister, Carol (Cameron Diaz), also wonders whether she’ll ever have a life of her own. And though she pretends to be nonchalant, Carol is deeply hurt when her latest fling, Walter (Matt Craven), turns out to be the mystery man for whom Dr. Keener has been waiting. Assigned to investigate the suicide of a high school classmate, Kathy ponders Carol’s embittered pragmatism and chooses not to share with her a new romance with a co-worker. ). Although the interlocking stories range in appeal and complexity, this film's characters cross paths and change each other’s lives in often-unexpected fashions: Rebecca, for example, has a one-night stand with Walter, who dates Carol and picks up Dr. Keener. The only false note is struck by the scenes involving Rebecca and a hokey bag lady, who’s conveniently prescient about Rebecca’s fate. Originally intended for theatrical release, the film wound up debuting on cable television and then going to video and DVD.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: An imaginatively constructed soap-opera with a high-powered cast, this film follows several narrative threads, all involving unfulfilled Los Angeles women who find inner peace after learning there are worse things than loneliness. Forever setting herself u… (more)

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