High Art (1998)
Critic Consensus: A surprisingly sultry performance from Ally Sheedy elevates High Art from pretentious melodrama to compelling -- if still a little pretentious -- romance.
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Critic Reviews for High Art
A highlight of the 1998 Sundance Festival: Cholodenko depicts with unwavering veracity the breakup of one longtime lesbian relationship just as another, unexpected one begins. The acting of the three women, Sheedy Mitchell, and Clarkson, is superb.
Patricia Clarkson succeeds in creating a complete, complex character without ever overplaying the stoned behavior. Radha Mitchell is successful at suggesting the interaction of several motives: love, lust, curiosity, ambition, admiration.
The film's treatment of women's sexuality is a nice contrast to the lesbian-bed-death clichés (and anti-chemistry) of Julianne Moore and Annette Bening in [Lisa] Cholodenko's more recent The Kids Are All Right.
High Art is often compelling and uncannily accurate in its evocation of downtown demi-monde characters and druggy, entropic milieu-the art in this film is high in more ways than one.
Clarkson's Greta... is wickedly funny, while Mitchell's ingénue convincingly combines puppyish idealism and steely ambition. But it is Sheedy's Lucy, nonchalantly sexy, sharply intelligent, tough and vulnerable, who is the film's heart and soul.
Audience Reviews for High Art
Absorbing psychological tug-of-war ensues for the attentions of fragile, reclusive photographer Lucy (Ally Sheedy) between her current girlfriend, junkie German former actress Greta (Patricia Clarkson) and her newly introduced downstairs neighbor, assistant magazine layout editor Syd (Radha Mitchell) who can get her vocation back on the fast track. The title has a double meaning as Lucy is torn, she can choose to remain in her current situation of privacy locked in a world of drug-fueled parties and a debilitatingly dependent Greta, or gain the strength to get clean and join Syd which also means facing the pressures that drove her away from the photography business in the first place. This trio of actresses is equally excellent in showing each character's vulnerabilities and makes the film worth watching, even if it seems to end with a chapter missing.
This is the film that had everyone aflutter because here we have Ally Sheedy coming out of the woodwork years after the Breakfast Club and she is a les-bion. She does a wonderful job but what happened to her co-star Radha Mitchell?
Cholodenko's debut brims with luscious cinematography.Literally!!The trio is demanding in every frame,projecting the pessimism of life,abnormalities in relationships,a Queer film without the cliches of this genre (I refuse to call it that way).Clarkson is so fuckin' underrated I swear she could play an animated freak and still play as gorgeous as ever.Gloomy atmosphere during the sex scenes.
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