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Stephanie's Image 2010 NR

3.5 out of 5 stars (4) IMDb 5.5/10

Former model Stephanie (Melissa Leo, 2009 Academy Award Best Actress Nominee), is found murdered in her San Francisco apartment. Her boyfriend, Richard (Chris Butler), whose body is also found at the scene, apparently killed her and then committed suicide. A photographer (Janis DeLucia Allen) who worked closely with Stephanie, decides to make a documentary about her life, as a kind of a memorial. She interviews those people closest to Stephanie, but she soon discovers that almost everything she has been told about the crime is false and everyone she interviews is lying. The circumstances surrounding Stephanie's death become more and more contradictory and as the filmmaker struggles for the truth she also realizes she may have played a frightening part in what happened to her friend. A subtle mystery drama featuring a powerful cast lead by Academy Award nominee Melissa Leo.

Starring:
Melissa Leo, Janis DeLucia Allen
Runtime:
1 hour, 11 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Janis DeLucia Allen
Starring Melissa Leo, Janis DeLucia Allen
Supporting actors Mara Luthane, J.P. Allen, Chris Butler, Darren Bridgett, Sally Clawson, Richard Conti, Yvonne Fisher, Warren Keith, Leontyne Mbele-Mbong, Chris Pflueger, Douglas Rowe
Studio Vanguard
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Stephanie's Image (2009) features Melissa Leo as a woman looking for the perfect image of herself as a way to mitigate the toll time and life are taking on her appearance and body. It's a 21st Century update of the Narcissus myth, spun through the lens of modern technology, in this case an obsession with cameras. Produced by Bay Area independent filmmakers JP Allen (screenplay) and Janis DeLucia Allen (producer and director), who both appear in prominent roles, this is a taut meditation on identity disguised as a murder mystery.

Stephanie's been murdered. By all appearances it looks like her boyfriend Richard (Chris Butler) killed her in some kind of jealous rage, though no one appears to understand why. DeLucia Allen plays a photographer who interviews people who knew the couple in attempt to understand what happened. She has her own motives for being involved in the project. Ostensibly these interviews will become a documentary about Stephanie. The participants think it's going to be a "tribute" video, but DeLucia, who's character is unnamed, delves deep, making everyone she talks with angry and uncomfortable once she relentlessly starts peeling back the layers of their superficial stories. It seems everyone has a story about Stephanie they'd rather not discuss.

These puzzle pieces are neatly laid out, keeping the viewer engaged without feeling like they're being led to a foregone conclusion, which they're not. The film's resolution makes perfect sense without being obvious about its intentions. When it's over, if you're like me, this film is going to remind you of someone you know or knew, and it's highly likely that person won't be in your life anymore.

The Allens have a strong cast on hand including Mara Luthane, Richard Conti, Darren Bridgett and Douglas Rowe.
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Format: DVD
Stephanie's Image might have worked out as a short, but fails to deliver as a full-length film. For many of its faults, there's generally a redeeming quality, but it still falls short of entertaining.

What initially drew me to this film was Melissa Leo, who I've known about since her mid-90's work on Homicide: Life on the Street. I thought her work in Frozen River was absolutely terrific, so I had high expectations of Stephanie's Image. The downside was that she only has one real dialogue scene, and despite being a good monologue, it's not enough to carry the film. Which isn't to say that she doesn't get any screen time in this mockumentary, as there are a number of non-speaking scenes that are critical to the film. For a woman knocking on 50's door, Melissa Leo is a stone-cold fox, and was perfectly cast for this role.

Most of the cast, playing documentary interview subjects, don't have much experience in film. The few who did managed to put out quality performances, though I was irritated by the narrator's police interrogation style of asking questions. Most of the film is an effort in misdirection, leaving you unsatisfied by the movie's conclusion, which could have otherwise been very touching.

Had this been a 30 minute short, minus all of the subplots that you ultimately discover have led nowhere, I'd be giving this film a four-star review. If you're a fan of Melissa Leo, watch it at least once to form your own opinion.
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Format: Amazon Video
A documentary filmmaker investigates the murder of a former model and finds that everything she's been told about her death is false.
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the use of a camera and interviews to tell the story brought a fresh angle and interest to the film. We hear about Stephanie and her husband and her work and life through interviews with her friends and family. I really liked that and kept me engaged. But in the end it isolated me from the two main protagonists and I became less involved in their lives and detached from their fates.
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