The first time I saw BLACK BOOK, I was at a critics screening, so I saw it way before anyone else I knew (except selected Chicago colleagues, of course).  I absolutely LOATHED this film, & I assumed others (especially women) would too.  So imagine my amazement when various friends (several schvesters among them) told me they…


Charming fairy tale about an abused woman (Keri Russell) struggling to find the inner courage to build a new life for herself. Told completely from Jenna’s POV, none of the male characters amount to much but the camaraderie between working women on the job (one of whom is played by writer/director Adrienne Shelly) is beautifully…

Film Review: VIRGIN

Like THE SCARLET LETTER, this film depicts a conservative community dealing with an illegitimate pregnancy. Here, however, the condition is the result of drug-induced date rape & the expectant mother, who has no memory of the incident, sincerely believes hers is another child of God. Moss’s perfect performance anchors everything. More on VIRGIN.

Film Review: TULLY

Preposterous plot (involving mysterious hospital bills) weighs down a number of excellent performances in this coming-of-age drama set on a small Nebraska family farm. Burrus is particularly moving as “Tully Senior,” a quiet man who hides his deep emotions under rigidly fixed habits. The sun shines when he finally smiles. More on TULLY.


Adaptation based on Jane Smiley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning meditation on KING LEAR. This searing film rages against residents of an Iowa town for averting their eyes while a power-mad tyrant (Robards) abused his daughters. Pfeiffer’s ferocious as the middle daughter. Cast totally against type, it’s the best performance of her career. More on A THOUSAND ACRES.