The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009)

“The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” (2009)


Central subjects

We have less and less people going to movies these days, yet more and more films coming out every week. Odd world, this one. In the middle of this craziness, i make a habit out of trying to guess which ones, among the avalanche of films in catalog, will be worth it. Some are easy choices, because they have people i care about participating. Others are pure chance (i like to call it intuition). This is such. Oh, it has Robin Wright, who impressed me in my re viewings of Breaking and Entering (not so much the first time i saw it, i have to rewrite my comment on that one). Still, this was a shot in the dark. But sometimes, fate and some ability to predict make an experience worthwhile, even discarding its contents. So, I got watch this one in a totally empty last session medium projection room. It was great. And the film is about surrounding multiple conceptions of loneliness, of spiritual emptiness, of empty goals. This film is a valid gift. It was given to me, just to me, i was alone only until the film begun.

We have a central life, of a woman who seems to affect the lives of all the people that surround her. Unwillingly. She gets what happens to her, not what she predicts. That is both her doom and the brightness in her. To play this woman, the director (herself a woman) chose a vivid and interesting young woman, Lively, mirrored in a very interesting person, Wright Penn, whose major quality as a performer is in her face. So we start the film on her face, in extreme close-up. Her expressions will tell us all we want to know about where the character stands in those moments. Two types of acting, one external, by Lively, another one internal and focused, by Wright. So, in perfect coherence with the idea of a woman who apparently erased herself out of true existence, true life, to become the shadow of someone who at a tragic moment in existence saw his life bound to her. Sensitive choices.

The big question here might be of self referential nature. Empty lives means those that create nothing? After all, Pippa feels the same kind of frustration her husband did, when he realized he wouldn’t become a writer. Several times that question comes to mind, notably when Sam asks the young Pippa what is her creative business, to which she just answers she works in a clothing store. Ultimately, the creative light that surrounds Pippa is herself, as a subject, and as the dynamo to her surrounding lives, someone who stirs and perturbs. That’s what Julianne Moore’s character is there for, to highlight Pippa as the subject, not the maker of art. Incidentally Moore is perfect because she herself is hardly a puppet in the middle of the art where she moves. She plays important roles as maker of art herself. Self reference, again.

We have the mother, unhealthy, drug addict, and obsessed with her daughter, we have Sam, always in love, we have Arkin’s character, who materializes in Pippa the frustration of his artless existence. We have Bellucci’s character, herself a competing central subject, who can’t stand being replaced.

All this is Rebecca Miller, who wrote a book, eventually as a projection of herself, and extended the notion to a film, personal, intuitive. A good experience.

My opinion: 4/5

This comment on IMDb


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