40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Lesbo druggies exposed!,
This review is from: High Art (VHS Tape)
Just kidding. Actually this is very good film whose only fault is a tendency to take itself a little too seriously at times.
Ally Sheedy plays Lucy, a lesbian photographer with a serious drug problem, but an even more serious inability to cope with the rapacious New York City commercial art scene. Lucy struts and poses her cocaine-trim limbs while her mind stoops to degeneracy. She is controlled by the deep-throated German has-been actress, Greta (Patricia Clarkson) her long-time lover, and by her own falling-down habits. The mercantile world is too much for her pure artist's nature, and so she forsakes it for the haze...
Radha Mitchell plays Syd, an assistant editor at Frame, a glitzy photo art mag, who is seduced by Lucy and by her own need to succeed. Gabriel Mann plays James, her boyfriend, who can see the handwriting on the wall, and splits.
Sheedy is outstanding and Mitchell is very good, but what makes this an intriguing and worth-while film is the uncompromising eye of Director Lisa Cholodenko, who depicts the sad, dreary NYC "high art" drug scene without a trace of sentimentality or any hidden sexist agenda. True, the women in the film are vastly more interesting than the men, who are merely passive appendages, of little notice. But that is because those in focus-Lucy, Syd and Greta-are strong people who shape their own lives, for better or for worse. Notice that the hangers-on, on the couch, male or female, are shallow and empty regardless of sex.
The lesbian sexuality displayed seemed authentic but somehow limited-although, how would I know? Maybe it's the code. The dependency passing for love between Lucy and Greta also struck me as real. Syd's loss of innocence was the main point, however, and it was not her sexual seduction that did it, but her discovery of her own very complex nature. The look on the face of the receptionist reading Dostoyevski after Syd appeared on the cover of the magazine, her hungry interest and then Syd's realization of being looked at in a different way, was just a marvelous piece of cinema incisively rendered.
--Dennis Littrell, author of "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!"