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Starring Sarah Polley, Stephen Rea, Jean Smart, Gina Gershon, Paul Dooley, Carrie Preston, Jasmine Guy
Written and Directed by Audrey Wells

IN SHORT: For the arthouse. [Rated [R], 107 minutes]

Didn't we see enough magazine articles about Hollywood's predilection for teaming older actors and way too young for them actresses ad nauseam in the past year? At least in the case of Guinevere the perpetrator is a female, the writer of the most excellent The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Audrey Wells. Wells makes her directorial debut with Guinevere, which is a straight romance without any of the gentle humor found in Cats and Dogs.

To call Harper Sloane (Sarah Polley) anything other than wallflower would be an exaggeration. She hides behind closed doors, bottle in hand, at her sister's wedding; Asks the wedding photographer to leave her out of the photographs; Doesn't understand why the shutterbug, Cornelius "Connie" Fitzpatrick (Stephen Rea) calls her "Guinevere". As we will discover, it's an opening line that Connie has used many times before.

Connie's sole claim to fame is his one published book, "Street Glory," which connected him with his own patron (Paul Dooley), who bought Connie's photographs as art. In between, he shoots weddings to pay the end of the month rent on his industrial loft. Which brings us full circle.

Like the mentor/student story of artists Alfred Steiglitz and Georgia O'Keefe, referenced in the flick, Connie takes unfocussed young chicks under his wing and puts them to work, discovering their creative sides in photography, art, painting, or other creative processes. It's a good thing to be a mentor, to guide the young on a path towards some manifestation of enlightenment and, if you get a little on the side, or in the darkroom, or on the roof, so much the better . . .

Stephen Rea brings his droopy dog-eyed look to the screen and Sarah Polley is occasionally flitty, but why the pair connect on an emotional level is quite beyond me. There's no sense that Connie is the proverbial "dirty old man" though, as we meet earlier Guineveres (including Jasmine Guy and the more prominent Gina Gershon) a pattern emerges. Harper's family, believing that she is away at college, is initially deceived. When Mom (Jean Smart) discovers the relationship, she reacts with a cold fury and a savage verbal deconstruction as to Connie's motives. This scene alone is worth the price of a ticket and earns Smart a place on my end of year "best" list.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Guinevere, he would have paid...


Rent it. Guinevere is just an OK flick for the indie arthouse circuit.

Click to buy films starring Stephen Rea
Click to buy films starring Sarah Polley

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