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High Art


From the director of The Kids Are All Right comes an intense drama about a photographer and a young assistant editor who exploit each other for their careers, while slowly falling in love.

Radha Mitchell, Gabriel Mann
1 hour, 42 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director Lisa Cholodenko
Starring Radha Mitchell, Gabriel Mann
Supporting actors Charis Michelsen, David Thornton, Anh Duong, Ally Sheedy, Patricia Clarkson, Helen Mendes, Bill Sage, Tammy Grimes, Cindra Feuer, Anthony Ruivivar, Elaine Tse, Rudolf Martin, Laura Ekstrand, Sarita Choudhury, Stephen Gevedon, Craig Wedren
Studio NBCU
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 2, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I guess I've been culturally deprived. I never heard of Ally Sheedy before. I understand she was once part of a brat pack and did very different roles than this, but I have no other frame of reference. Anyway, in this ambitious modern tale, she plays the part of a lesbian photographer who's into drugs. She lives with her heroin-addicted girlfriend and has prematurely given up a promising career. They hang out in their seedy apartment doing drugs with a variety of other people and that seems to be the sum total of their lives. In the apartment below lives a young professional woman, Radha Mitchell, and her boyfriend. When there is a leak from the apartment above, the young woman goes upstairs and meets the photographer and her assorted friends. She works as an assistant editor for a photography magazine and is immediately drawn into the art of the photos as well as an attraction for Ally Sheedy and drugs.
One of the things I liked most about this video is what I thought of as its authenticity. There are several sex scenes that have the feel of real people in bed. If anything, they were so real that they went on a little too long but the reality of attraction, shyness, conversation, and exploration deepened the characterizations of the people involved. Perhaps this is the intention of the screenwriter, the long and lingering views of the relationship. There were also long and lingering views of drug taking and again I felt they were a little too much. The film though seemed to be trying to be an art form in itself and although the two star's performances were excellent, some of the minor characters just didn't quite seem real, such as Ally Sheedy's mother or the druggie girlfriend. The mood of the video is melancholy, the pace slow, the acting uneven. But for what it was, I enjoyed it.
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Format: 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.
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By A Customer on December 1, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Great movie, I highly recommend it. Of all the reviews I read Jerry Renshaw's editorial review was one of the most on-target. As someone with a passing acquaintance of the art world, it's errie how many of the characters remind me of people I know. Not surprsingly a lot of artists didn't like it. I admit all the liquified people poured over various couches & consuming what appear to be half the Columbian GDP is a bit of a stereotype. But if the behavior is exxagerated, the mentality is not. Another side note - people keep saying that the folks at the photo mag are alternatively "painfully pretentious" or "avaricious corporate-types". I tend to see them as rather sincere and serious-minded about their post-modernist mumbo-jumbo (though the average person may find such talk ludicrous - but hey, Syd was a semiotics major and she talks about Foucault with a perfectly straight face) and, being in the (very hard) business of running a magazine, do what they have to do to keep the boat afloat. In this regard I really have no sympathy for the self-indulgent "art-genius" types who consider a deadline the most onerous burden on earth yet somehow expect the world to owe them a living.
However I think Syd was only a supporting character in the story - at least a less-interesting main character. Contrary to what has been implied, Syd was not the ambitious schemer who sees every bed as a rung on the corporate ladder. Overall she's basically a wide-eyed innocent in awe of Lucy and a bit bewildered by the career opportunities suddenly open to her because of her connection to Lucy - not that she took undue advantage of it anyway.
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