Film Scouts Reviews

"High Art"

by Richard Schwartz

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Lesbian photographers hooked on smack. Sounds like the title of an off-off-Broadway guerilla theater production. Too bad it's not, for it certainly would have marked an improvement over Lisa Cholodenko's lethargic "High Art," which tackles the same subject matter and plods through it at a slumbering pace. Radha Mitchell stars as a Syd, an assistant editor at a photography magazine who takes a liking to her neighbor, a former star photographer played by grown-up Brat Packer Ally Sheedy. Mitchell's character then draws Syd into a netherworld of heroin use and taboo love. Nothing can save this film, not even the witty office banter in the magazine copy desk scenes or an hysterically gaudy performance by Patricia Clarkson as a German thespian (and actress, too). Worse yet is the dumbed-down relationship between Mitchell and Sheedy, which insults the viewer's intellect and doesn't even generate any noticeable chemistry. Now if that lesbian relationship had been between Sheedy and, say, Molly Ringwald or Mare Winningham...

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