13 Conversations
About One Thing

Dir: Jill Sprecher
Starring: Alan Arkin, Matthew McConaughey, Clea Duvall, John Turturro

The film sets out to tell a series of interconnected stories, with five main characters, whose lives overlap and intersect. The inevitable result is that some work more effectively than others: Arkin's insurance drone is great to watch, but Amy Irving's whiny wife rarely even reaches dull. The structure is also overly complex, leaping around in time to such an extent you wish there was a little calendar in the bottom left of the screen. Effectively, it's circular...albeit in the same way that a pretzel is circular. :-)

As mentioned, Arkin provides the most interesting section. As a manager, he is obviously doomed, but even acting like an utter bastard, you feel sympathy for him. McConaughey's lawyer is likely second, though he steadily fades from proceedings as the film goes on. Duvall's cleaning lady provides a rare note of optimism, at least until her life is wrecked by the lawyer. Turturro and Irving play a couple who are splitting up - cue much whining from both, with neither being someone with whom you'd want to spend much time. Despite obvious "indie movie" pretensions from the director, this stands or falls on the strength of the portrayals. Luckily, failings in script and acting elsewhere - most of the characters aren't as interesting as Sprecher seems to think - are more than made up for by Arkin, whose character deserves an entire movie on his own.


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