A staged reading of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya in Broadway's condemned New Amsterdam Theater. Louis Malle's direction is elegant and unobtrusive, but the movie (based on an invitation-only workshop production that was celebrated as much for its trendy exclusivity as for its quality) is
essentially a filmed record of a work by Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, briefly the thinking man's Abbott and Costello after the success of MY DINNER WITH ANDRE. There are moments of considerable power here--due mostly to standout performances by Julianne Moore and Brooke Smith--but this
stripped-down rendering gives us something closer to a latterday dysfunctional family than Chekhov's doomed bourgeoisie.
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