Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, Jill Sprecher (2001)

Strange little movie that feels more like the first draft of Mamet play than a feature film. A bunch of little people in the big city — housekeeper, district attorney, actuary, math professor — experience enormous changes at the last minute to the strains of Chopin, cross paths Altman-style, and have Deep Philosophical Conversations about happiness and fate within minutes of meeting each other for the first time. The kind of movie where someone can’t break a water glass without it turning into a metaphor for Modern Man’s Alienation From Society And Himself, and where people get hit by cars or win the lottery as if these were occurrences as common as breaking a water glass. The pacing and philosophical bent of the movie made it feel to me a little bit like some of Hal Hartley’s early ones, but without the sense of humor. Alan Arkin’s a beautiful genius actor. He finds a million things to do within the confines of a too-limited character. And Clea DuVall, who I’d never heard of or seen before, does a gorgeous little job with a sweet little part. Finally, though, eh.

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