Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cummings Project
The proliferation of high quality, low priced video tools of the last 10 years has been an interesting phenomena to observe. Sometimes, the use of video - DV, S-VHS, etc - is very effective - Blair Witch project benefits from it's only saving moments - shot on a handicam. Other times, the use of video is just over the top and distracting - Blackout and 15 Minutes come to mind. This movie was conceived, directed, and stars Jennifer Jason Leigh. Having some previous status in Hollywood certainly benefits here - there's no way she could have landed this cast of characters had they not already met on the set of Dorothy Parker's Vicious Circle. Even though this film was shot on DV, this is not the same sort of equipment you and I could probably get a hold of. As a result, the DV shots were never distracting, nor just novelty.
The story is pretty simple (on the surface) - Jennifer Jason Leigh's Sally and Alan Cumming's Joe are celebrating their sixth anniversary. The party is at their house and a mix of characters - friends, neighbors, and business relations - attend the party. The mix of people and their interaction is the story. We learn a great deal about the couple's relationship through the side stories. Although this is an ensemble cast, we don't have several storylines, nearly everything relates to Joe and Sally.
The party continues and the attendees take X - provided by Paltrow's character. As their inhibitions drop, the darker side of Joe and Sally's life is thrown on screen. The past six years have not been going well and Sally is terribly unhappy.
Joe's sister dies and the phone call from his Dad stops the angry spiral of the story. Coming together, Joe and Sally end the day much as it began. Very interesting movie.
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