Love and Other Impossible Pursuits
Director: Don Roos
Starring: Natalie Portman, Lisa Kudrow, Scott Cohen, Charlie Tahan
Following the visceral, nightmarish visions of Black Swan, the newly crowned Oscar-winner Portman explores more traditional dramatic territory in this family drama. She plays Emilia, a young woman recovering from the loss of her first child. In addition to this, her marriage to Jack (Cohen) is suffering due to public opinion of her being a homewrecker, an opinion exacerbated by Jack's bitter ex-wife (Kudrow). Emilia also struggles to bond with her stepson (Tahan), who blames her for his parents' divorce. The emotionally fragile new stepmother must find a way to break through to him, and in doing so, overcome her own pain. A plethora of emotional stand-offs and flashbacks make up the centre of this compelling, but at times saccharine, drama. The director Roos pulls in the audience, almost encouraging them to take sides as we see Emilia's past seduction of Jack, and the price she presently pays for it. Kudrow, a regular in the director's past work, is bitter without being abrasive, and although it is a little more glossy than the novel it is based on, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is a mature and thoughtful look at the dynamics of the 21st-century family unit.
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