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The Invisible Circus

3.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the mid-70s, a young woman is troubled by her politically radical older sisters apparent suicide in Portugal seven years earlier. Eager to learn the truth, she sets out on a trip across Europe and, with help from her sisters former lover, retraces her life-altering odyssey. Writer/director Adam Brooks moving adaptation of the Jennifer Egan novel stars Jordana Brewster, Cameron Diaz, Christopher Eccleston. 91 min. Standard and Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtracks: English Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital stereo Surround. NOTE: This Title Is Out Of Print; Limit One Per Customer.

Amazon.com

An affecting movie about ghosts and illusions, The Invisible Circus follows Phoebe (Jordana Brewster), an American girl who's retracing the path of her sister Faith (Cameron Diaz), hoping to discover what led to Faith's mysterious death. Using the postcards that Faith sent her from Europe as a map, Phoebe travels from Amsterdam to Paris to Portugal, learning from Faith's ex-boyfriend Wolf (Christopher Eccleston) about a side of Faith that Phoebe knew nothing about--a side that overturns all of Phoebe's cherished beliefs about her sister and herself. The performances in The Invisible Circus are uneven, and yet the culmination of the movie captures something piercingly sad, something acute and evocative about how survivors create myths about the lost, myths that can both help and hinder their lives. Blythe Danner plays the mother of the two girls in a brief but subtly powerful performance. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jordana Brewster, Cameron Diaz, Christopher Eccleston, Blythe Danner, Camilla Belle
  • Directors: Adam Brooks
  • Writers: Adam Brooks, Jennifer Egan
  • Producers: António da Cunha Telles, Arianna C. Bocco, Julia Chasman, Nick Wechsler, Tim Van Rellim
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 10, 2002
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000714E8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,148 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Invisible Circus" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Laura J. Eklund on November 30, 2006
Format: DVD
It is 1969. Phoebe(Camilla Belle) is an 11 year old girl growing up with an idealized vision of her 19 year old sister Faith(Cameron Diaz). Faith is the doer, the truth-seeker, the fixer of all the wrongs in the world. Then one day, Phoebe and her mother Gail(Blythe Danner) receive word that Faith is dead. Faith has killed herself. Both Phoebe and Gail are overwhelmed by this news and, although saddened, Gail mourns. Phoebe can't let it go. Phoebe decides to go to Europe and find out what happened.

It is now 1977. Phoebe(Jordana Brewster) is 18 and decides to go to Europe over the objections of her mother to discover the truth. When alive, Faith was inseparable from a man she called "Wolf"(Christopher Eccleston). Though Wolf claimed not to know anything about Faith's last days, Phoebe convinces him to tell her everything. Within days, Wolf realizes that he hadn't let go of the past either and he joins Phoebe on her pilgrimage to Portugal.

In the end, Wolf is able to tell of Faith's decent into drug abuse and his own guilt at not preventing the suicide. Although angry, Phoebe realizes in the end how human and fragile Faith really was.

I liked this movie. I'm old enough to remember the bank robberies of the Red Army and I was 10 in 1969. This story was familiar ground for me. I can still remember young men trying to decide if they should go to Canada or not to avoid the draft.

The story is simple, but probably occurred several times in real life during that period. Camilla Belle was perky, enjoyable and fun to watch as she portrayed the young adoring sister excited by what was happening around her. Jordana Brewster slid easily into the role of the older Phoebe.
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By A Customer on May 15, 2004
Format: DVD
This video is very moving and intense. It is the story of a girl who committed suicide in the 1960s, and her now-grown-up sister's attempt to understand what happened. It seamlessly traces and intertwines both sisters' trips through Europe, and shows how the older sister went further and further into rebellion until she reached a point she could not turn back or go on. It shows the older sister's integrity - even though she did not get caught in her crime, and faced only her own guilt, she was unable to live with herself, and saw suicide as the only way out. It shows the boyfriend's love of her, even as he tried to get her to pull back, and his attempt to understand, years later, what had happened. And it shows the sister's and mother's attempts to live with what had happened. It is a very powerful movie. Diaz shines in her role, and Ecclestein, Danner and the other minor characters are also very powerful. Brewster is a little weak - a more experienced actor could have brought a little more depth to her character, and Ecclestein's wig was horrendous.
Those two minor flaws, however, could not dim the beauty or power of this movie.
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Format: DVD
....this is a granite-colored gem, more beautiful for what it lacks than for what it has.
It lacks, for one thing, that amber-colored lens that so many filmmakers use, the one that colors the world in bright jewel tones and lush greens. It lacks Spielberg-esque background music telling you how to feel. It lacks glamour, fairy tales and phoniness.
Phoebe goes to Europe to track Faith's footsteps. There is no aerial view of the Eiffel Tower with accordions playing La Vie En Rose. There are no cutesy Europeans plying her with their wares, no breathtaking, overphotographed landmarks. She is alone in the dingy, drab, real colors of the real Europe. She finds out that Faith wasn't what she thought. She finds out that she, Phoebe, is OK after all. Not an atom-splitting moment; just an everyday kind of epiphany, wrenching nonetheless.
Diaz is at her best here - she proves that she's a real actress and not just a popular blonde.
Pay attention to the ending, if you didn't the first time. It's like a period at the end of a sentence.
This film didn't insult my intelligence or my attention span. It was really quite refreshing. And haunting.
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Format: VHS Tape
The Invisible Circus must have looked great on paper. It's Jennifer Egan's successful and much-loved first novel adapted by proven screenwriter Adam Brooks (Practical Magic, Beloved, French Kiss). It had a promising variety of star wattage attached, including blockbuster darling Cameron Diaz, rising star Jordana Brewster, art house favorite Christopher Eccleston and the perenially excellent Blythe Danner. The drama moves from the coast of California to the streets of Paris to the cliffs of Portugal -- a potential visual feast of landscapes. And from a marketing standpoint, the story features a bit of everything -- family, rebellion, love, loss, guns, drugs, sex, world-travel, a 70s soundtrack, politcal intruige... even an old Volkswagen. A guaranteed hit, right?
Wrong. The Invisible Circus fails, and fails miserably.
The failure of this film can be blamed largely on Brewster. Her Phoebe is by turns annoying, cruel, selfish, ridiculous... you name it -- Brewster is almost unwatchable in her portrayal of a difficult character. I imagine an actress with more emotional sensitivity could have pulled it off and made the character a bit sympathetic, but Brewster fails entirely. From what I understand, she is studying at Yale... let's hope she's majoring in something other than drama.
Cameron Diaz fares better -- unlike Brewster, she's actually acting. But her character Faith is cursed by writer/director Brooks, who robs us visually and verbally of Faith's real struggle. He has the other characters inform us that Faith is upset, rather than give Diaz the chance to really portray the conflict onscreen. And so when we finally reach the point where we learn what really happened to her character, it feels like an anticlimax. Diaz tries her best, but she can't save Faith.
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