Anesthesia (2015) Poster

(2015)

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6/10
Planting cabbages
ferguson-67 January 2016
Greetings again from the darkness. The comparisons to Crash, the 2006 Oscar winner for Best Picture, will be numerous and understandable. However, rather than an expose' on racial tension, writer/director/actor Tim Blake Nelson turns his pen and lens towards the somewhat less profound, though still fruitful subject matter of suburban angst amidst the educated elite.

An opening featuring a violent mugging on the stoop of a NYC brownstone grabs our attention quickly, and rather than follow the immediate aftermath, we are instead taken back in time to study the characters and events leading to that tragic moment. The tangled web of intertwined stories is made up of no fewer than fifteen different characters, each of whom is impacted by what happens in that opening sequence.

Sam Waterston plays a beloved Columbia University Philosophy Professor who is exceedingly happily married to Glenn Close. Director Tim Blake Nelson plays their son, who is married to Jessica Hecht, and together they have a teenage son and daughter (Ben Konigsberg, Hannah Marks). Michael K Williams plays a big shot attorney who forces his best friend (K Todd Freeman) into drug rehab with a renowned doctor (Yul Vazquez), while Gretchen Mol plays the mother of two daughters and wife of Corey Stoll.

All of the above might seem simple enough, but Mr. Nelson's script jumbles things up for each character … just like what happens in real life. Waterston discovers that his prized pupil (Kristen Stewart) has psychological issues and needs professional help – just as he decides it's time to retire from teaching. While their kids are smoking pot and exploring sexual frontiers, Hecht and Nelson are dealing with a medical dilemma. During his rehab, Freeman is quietly confronted by a nurse while being let down by his only friend; and as Ms. Mol turns to the bottle to numb her daily pain, her hubby is making plans with someone else (Mickey Sumner) … and China may or may not play a role. Whew!!

Daily life creates many opportunities. Some of these turn out good, while others seem destined to create pain. It's that pain … sometimes quite arbitrary … and how we deal with it, which is at the core of these characters and their stories. There is also the always-present quest for truth and search for the meaning of life. We know we are in for a ride when Waterston's character says "I used to believe in nothing. Now I believe in everything." Worlds colliding at every turn keep the pace of the film brisk, and the familiar cast of actors allows us to easily accept each of the characters. A bit more polish on the script could have elevated this, but even as is, the film delivers a worthy punch, and has us questioning if we should be "planting cabbages" (Montaigne).
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8/10
Beautifully Done!
slidingstage23 April 2015
I had the pleasure of seeing Anesthesia at it's world premier at the TriBeCa film festival last night and was very impressed. Ensemble cast, multiple narratives and an "anemic" budget makes pulling this off quite difficult. But, they did. The stories develop well, come together when necessary but not to a point to where it comes off as a gimmick. And where the film could get have gotten lost in it's ambition, it still takes time for humor and delivers a story with an arc that's quite compelling. Tim Blake Nelson knew how far to take it, but also didn't get too deep into the weeds or over indulgent with his impressive cast.

Honest filmmaking, deliberate performances and the best setting in the world make Anesthesia well worth checking out. Enjoy!
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10/10
if you don't like philosophical, emotionally complicated, eloquent movies...
imizrahi20029 March 2016
i'd DEFinitely say this movie is NOT for you...SURE it's flawed in ways i'd rather not discuss. i don't want you to be looking for the things that unsettled me. aside from the stories themselves. i've seen and see many, many movies. was born and raised in b'klyn, ny. this movie takes place in, mostly, manhattan(and places close enough to still be considered ny. although a commute away...). i rarely vote a score for a movie...but the ratings were ALmost low enough to dissuade me from seeing this. and that would've, truly, been a loss...i consider this movie to be a masterpiece in that it mixes lots of important thoughts and questions into the story. questions that need asking/addressing. i found it so thick with drama...or moments/conversation that i had to think about that i was almost overwhelmed. i was sooooo glad that i didn't see this in the movies. i had to stop it a number of times to absorb what had just happened...either emotionally or intellectually. and the cast! i can't believe NOTHING from this film was nominated ANYwhere...like i said, it IS flawed in certain respects...but overall? it's a 'wower'. but not a Hollywood movie. well...not a typical one, anyways...it's uncompromising in that it doesn't cater to being popular. though it IS successful in being ironically twisting in ways that'll make you feel like you've had a rough appointment at the chiropractor... some of the performances are noteworthy...and i think some of you will very much enjoy seeing actors you're familiar with(but don't know their names. yet...)from places like 'boardwalk empire' or 'buffy the vampire slayer'...falling skies/saints and sinners/mr robot...house of cards/the strain... i COULD go on. seriously. these are the 'lesser names'. but not performances... i haven't posted a movie review in quite a while...but i wanted no one else to ALmost miss this work of great storiestelling... and i ALSO, very much, wanted to thank those few reviewers that already posted reviews saying that it was good. you were the tipping points...
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8/10
Complex and sprawling drama with plenty of flawed characters
paul-allaer7 April 2017
"Anesthesia" (2015 release; 90 min.) brings a sprawling story involving a seemingly unconnected group of people in New York. As the movie opens, we see an older guy walking home, buying flowers for someone (his wife we presume), and then just as he gets to his building, something terrible happens, as he is being buzzed in by a neighbor. The movie then goes back in time, and we get to know a slew of people, and how eventually it becomes clear that all of their lives are interconnected, directly or indirectly. At this point we're not event 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this movie is nothing short of being a labor of love from Tim Blake Nelson, who wrote, directed, co-produced and for good measure also stars as one of the characters in the large ensemble (playing the son of the older guy). Here Nelson (best known for his acting work) brings us a complicated character study of mostly flawed characters who are dealing with demons of various kinds. Because of the strong story-telling and plot-driven context, it would be inappropriate for me to say much more than that. The movie features a number of noteworthy performances, none more so than Sam "Law & Order" Waterston as the philosophy professor who is pondering his options as his long and distinguished academic career is winding down. What an acting talent this is, a crisp mid-70 years young when this was filmed. Kristen Stewart (as the troubled philosophy masters student) is 180 degrees away from her "Twilight" franchise role, and makes the most of her brief screen time in this. Canadian composer Jeff Danna provides a lovely orchestra score.

This movie was filmed in 2013, and premiered to positive acclaim at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, but it sank like a stone upon its brief theatrical release in early 2016 (it never even made it to my art-house theater here in Cincinnati). A darn shame. But the movie seems to have found a second wind with the subsequent VOD, TV and DVD releases. I happen to catch it on SHO the other night, and I absolutely loved this movie. No, this isn't a 'jolly good time' as the movie is serious and complicated, but I loved spending time with these characters and wasn't ready to say goodbye when the movie's end credits started rolling. "Anesthesia" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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5/10
Life is a pain
cekadah20 May 2016
And the only escape from the pain of life is total sensory deprivation! And this is what this story focuses on; those people in society who seek to escape the pain of living and the unintended or intended effect it has on the people in society who manage to live their daily life pain or not.

Each character has their own story and most of them are unhappy, mentally fragile, or have fallen into the pit of substance abuse. Only one 'the professor' seem to be truly happy in his life and of course by movies end he suffers the most. We have seen other movies with this format where what appears to be people living separate lives eventually converge due to one event.

'Anesthesia' is an OK movie well acted and edited and scripted. The story will keep your interest but at movies end - that's it. It ends and you get the message. It's a take it or leave it flick for me!
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9/10
This is New York. Great story
StorytellerKefi19 May 2015
Wonderful movie! Randomly caught this at the 2015 TriBeCa Film festival and was not disappointed. Although there were some minor editing hiccups, this story about holds up fantastically as it documents the lives of different New Yorkers. The dialogue is clever. The acting performances were authentic. And as the plot got predictable, it made a left turn for a satisfying ending. This movie was everything Crash (2004) wanted to be but better. It's also the most honest depiction of New York life I've seen in a long while. The story gives food for thought and deserves a watch. I wish this movie well in theaters! -Kefi Maxwell. redpencritic.wordpress.com
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7/10
For serious movie watchers
CincySaint1 July 2016
While flawed, Anesthesia is better than 90% of what comes out of Hollywood. Tim Blake Nelson explores the mystery of what life is all about. There are some brilliant performances by K. Todd Freeman and Gretchen Mol. While I like Kristen Stewart (unlike most people), her part is very small although powerful and sad.

I did not love the ending but the movie is still well worth watching.

This is not a feel good, happy movie but It felt real and raw and very much what life is like. Instead of wasting two hours on a formulaic, predictable movie, try this and contemplate how beautiful, terrible, messy, and wonderful life is.
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5/10
disappointingly predictable and self-indulgent
noelcox16 January 2016
I found this film to be disappointingly predictable and a self- indulgent piece of "entertainment".It would have been more entertaining to watch paint drying - and about as easy to guess the next scene. The characters were all two-dimensional and lacking in any depth.

One detail that particularly irritated me was the lecturing manner - and content - of the supposed Columbia University philosophy professor. He addressed his class in a manner that no real lecturer would, speaking in over-written prose found only in bad novels - and poorer made-for-TV films. The subjects matter he seemed to cover was so eclectic and with such a tenuous connection to any school of philosophy that I wondered if the script writer was having a joke at the audience's - or academia's - expense.

The concept of one incident linking various disparate individuals, and thus illustrating aspects of life - or in this case New York city - is so over-used that it will now only succeed with a better than average script. Unfortunately, despite the reasonably capable cast, this was a forlorn exercise.
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8/10
Many lives converge during a tragic moment. Works as well as Crash did. I really enjoyed this and recommend. I give this a B+
cosmo_tiger17 March 2016
"You can't see you're in charge of yourself." The lives of many people and families all intersect after the attack on popular professor Walter Zarrow (Waterston). A husband and wife in marriage trouble, a wife with health issues, a young woman with mental problems and two old friends on opposite ends of the law all have an impact on each other without realizing it. I really enjoy movies like this. Movies where seemingly individual stories all converge at the end. Movies like Crash, 11:14 and recently She's Funny That Way have all used this mechanic with success. This one adds to that. The movie starts off a little slow but really grows on you and by the end you really don't want it to end. The only downside is the movie is a little too predictable, but it does have enough curves to keep you surprised though. The acting is very good in this and this is a sleeper movie that should be seen by more people than it will. Overall, a movie to watch for the acting and the story, not for everyone but those that like it will really like it. I did. I give this a B+.
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9/10
An honest portrayal of the human condition
thinkingaboutthese13 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This brilliant production manages to be intellectual and honest without being condescending or preachy.

Particularly touching is the relationship between teacher and student. In their conversations, you find a paradox that I would imagine to be common among philosophers: you can delve into your work, searching for truth and meaning, but, by doing that, you can lose the social interaction that is key to finding those in our interconnected world. Humans are in a lose-lose situation, because they can't have both to the "necessary" degree. We can't "have it all". Ultimately, we can only pretend, and the only way to find total happiness is to accept (at worst) lies or (at best) suppositions. We are stuck in a semi-irrational state -- between nothingness and being God-like, as the young boy says to his sister.

As another reviewer indicated, this film shares a subtle, and somewhat depressing, "life can't help but go on" message. You see this with the ending of the young boy juxtaposed with the troubles of his mother, but you also see it after the hospitalization of the drug addict. Rather than being focused on the troubles of his close friend, the lawyer was caught up in sex and his work.

The film does not give much solace to those confused and looking for answers on life -- it really can't -- but it gives great insight into human suffering.
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1/10
What a pretentious, boring, twisted piece of crap
jacob2i16 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Wow. Just saw this horrible movie. What a waste of time.

Hey go see it if you want to:

1) hear little kids telling their parents to f off.

2) hear parents telling their little kids to f off.

3) pretty much everybody telling other people to f off.

4) watch a group of people who embody the absolute moral bankruptcy of our country.

This movie is the Hollywood masters last laugh at what they have done to us.

But hey, why not go see it. Apparently your brain is already fried, according to this movie.
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5/10
An indie drama that is a mixed-bag.
PeterLormeReviews24 January 2016
Anesthesia (2015) is an indie drama is produced,written,directed by Tim Blake Nelson, who also stars in the film. This film is a mixed bag for me. I thought the acting was phenomenal. The script was creative, but at times I found it dull. I was bored for most of the film. The ending was investing and pulled me in. I cannot say that about the majority of the film. The movie centers around several characters. This can either work or flop. The movie manages to do both. The characters I liked/cared about: the professor, the self-destructive student and the junkie. The characters that I didn't like/care about: The cheating husband and his alcoholic wife, the junkie's brother, the professor's wife. The other characters are neutral, mainly because they are completely forgettable. Solid start, flat middle, great ending.
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1/10
Too Self-Aware
Esme8677 October 2016
What's the point of life? The film begs the question. Tim Blake Nelson has made one of the most pretentious and bombastic films, pandering to pseudo-intellectual movie "buffs" to converse over their vegan, 5-calorie, triple shot macchiatos.

Every character is too self-aware of their existence. They all question, rather than investigate the point of life, which is lazily done through characters reflecting out loud why they do the things they do.

At the beginning of the film, Walter asks why we continue bringing children into a world so cruel. Why bring children into the world and not teach them respect so they can't say lines such as: "So dad can be gone all the time and you can be drunk all night?" This, by a 10-year-old. In another scene, teenage kids tell their parents to "F off" and that smoking weed every day is less potent than the parents' 4 glasses of wine at night. Right.

Throughout the film, Kristen Stewart goes on various diatribes informing us pseudo-intellectuals how unhappy she is, because she is alive and can't stop being alive. She harms herself with a curling iron and when asked why, she says, "to remind myself of why I'm here." She's mad at the world that they can't change and even more mad at herself that she can't change either. That is exhausting to try to translate. I half expected her to take out Romeo's poison and drink it as a last "screw you" to the world, but alas, she will have to endure the curse of life like the rest of us.

Also, don't do drugs.
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8/10
Where's Woody Allen? A Film For Thinkers
Moviegoer199 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
He's not in this film but he could have been. "Anesthesia" reminds me of a serious WA movie, complete with NYC as a character in itself. I am a great fan of most of WA's work and I also really like this movie. As far as films go, it's "deep" raising some of the "big" issues of human suffering and the meaning of life, and it's done really well. One thing that made it compelling, in my opinion, is the casting. The various actors in it make for a great visual variety in terms of race/ethnicity and looks. Everyone is not beautiful looking, yet everyone I found to be very engaging. Another way of saying this is the acting was excellent across the board.

For a movie with subject matter that could have wound up seeming pretentious, I think the big issues were handled well. For example, towards the end,when the two teenagers were so delicately having sex for the first time, while the boy's mother was undergoing exploratory surgery, it was an artistic way of showing the "life can't help but go on" theme. Likewise, the ending, in which the Sam Waterston character extends kindness to the street drug addict who then intervenes and gets killed when Sam W. is knifed by another street person, I found to be quite moving. Ultimately we die and some people are bigger a-holes than others, but in the end what we choose to be meaningful matters.
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9/10
not for shallow, non intellectuals, 90% of population
jerbearmane314 January 2016
this movie is deep, moving and ignites the brilliant, yet deep sorrow filled questions of what the meaning of life is and how one should choose their own purpose. excellent movie. mediocre reviews i assume were because the critics are forced to actually think and question deeply personal and wider societal issues, instead of brainlessly watching a film. the movie is about a mugging that splinters story lines of every one connected or effected. the movie encompasses broad problems that are unique to each character in a sincere way. The majority will be able to relate to at least one, if not more of the issues portrayed here. everybody is searching for the answers and this is an honest film aiming to get the audience to remember our actions are never kept isolated in this world.
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7/10
Nice New York story
bkoganbing6 November 2018
Lives of several New Yorkers are interconnected in Anesthesia and some are more interesting than others. The cast is headed by Sam Waterston and Glenn Close as a philosophy professor at Columbia University and his wife and it's the eve of his retirement. He's just given a final capstone lecture and I have to say it ranks with some of the great orations that Spencer Tracy did in the classic Hollywood era. Nice to see that there are some players who can still do that.

There's a dimension to Waterston's performance that will not happen for future generations viewing this film. They won't have had 15 years of watching him as Jack McCoy the symbol of societal authority in Law And Order. When he's attacked on the street and seeks aid by randomly ringing apartment doorbells to be buzzed in it's like society itself being attacked. 50 years from now someone watching Anesthesia won't have that context.

The film opens with Waterston's mugging and with K. Todd Freeman coming to his aid and both wounded. Then it flashes back 48 hours and we see how things got to that point.

I also have to point out a small but telling performance of Twilight's Kristen Stewart as one of Waterston's students. This is a girl with a lot of issues and while she likes her teacher she finds no comfort in his answers concerning life's meaning.

Another standout is young Ben Konigsberg trying very hard to lose his virginity. His naivete even through smoke clouds of pot is appealing.

K. Todd Freeman is also a standout as a junkie himself trying to get his life back together and getting a lot of tough love from those around him.

It's a good ensemble that director Tim Blake Nelson put together for this most New York of stories.
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Intersecting stories trope done pretentiously and badly
VoyagerMN198627 November 2018
At first it is hard to pin down why this film just doesn't work. Ultimately it is a preachy, dull -- and dull minded -- mediocre work.

Ok, so we have the intersecting story line. Not only is this getting tired but it is becoming the refuge of second rate ideas. Essentially a gimmick, and it is painfully just that here.

Then we have philosophy "lite", ie some Socratic musings smattered with a bit of plagiarism of Plutarch and a mention of August. Its undergrad "western philosophy 101" haphazardly superimposed over unimportant events and uninteresting people.

The kicker is the completely inappropriate apologia for predatory violence. Explain muggers who assault their victims, or rapists, or any other violent criminal as essentially no different than you or I, is just insulting. That is not a case of but the grace of god there go you or I, it is a case of a very small proportion of the population habitually committing predatory violence and choosing to permanently harm people
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2/10
Too many characters, twice as many problems, and far too few to care about.
mark.waltz18 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Instantly tedious, this Manhattan melodrama provides snippets into the lives of mostly unrelated characters with all sorts of problems that make a good majority of them turn into complete narcissistic animals. I can relate to the young girl who confesses to hating the obsession with devices over real interaction with people, accusing herself of being guilty of it as well. I find her hypocritical even in her honesty, and in her therapy, there seems to be nothing that she can do. She claims to be taken totally by surprise that this has taken over society, resentful that she was never told the rules (that obviously were never created), and her distaste for the lack of proper communication, ironically spoken in modern tongue that really doesn't say much but is embedded in the mind yet can't be formulated into understandable sentences. She's a perfect representation of the "safety pin" wearing, "cutting" age, taking out her self hatred in ways that most people can't fathom.

I've had that distaste in my own aura for at least two decades, and in my own vision of what common decency and sensible behavior find that we live in a world of uncommon sense, each residing with an I.D. for our own state of confusion. I was hoping to care about the characters closer in social status and race and age to my own, and found myself caring more involved in issues that have long plagued our planet rather than those suffering from social insecurities brought on by their addiction to all things fake that make drugs and alcohol seem tame in comparison. Even with its attempts to show the evils of the technologies of today (something I truly believe), I found its methods not satisfying or presenting of a decent solution. That makes the film ultimately pointless and dangerous in revealing that the disease of technology is a plague we are simply stuck with whether we like it or not. Sam Waterston has several interesting monologues, but all it succeeded in doing was perplex me even more.

That's what this film is, a trip to the state of confusion with characters whose own mindset is selfish at best and misanthropic at its worst. I can feel for the drug addict forced into rehab, the past retirement age professor who is brutally mugged and even the socially confused youngsters. But there is no sense of wanting a desire for improvement, no desire to be a decent loving and understanding parent, and certainly no desire to respect the parent even when disappointed in them. All this does is show how messed up society has become under certain liberal agendas. That makes it at its best, boring, and at its worst, more depressing than an Edward Albee play. While the ending tries its best to be profound, it went all over the map in trying to get there and reminded me of the issues of this era I can't even begin to sympathize with, let alone the generation of dimwits who continue to blame the problems on the world on innocent people without seeing the entire picture yet continuing to thrive on the existence of their phones. Even with talents like Sam Waterston and a totally wasted Glenn Close, I think this one to really be skipable.
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8/10
Angst Glorified
toneybrooks200316 September 2019
A nihilistic, dark, pessimistic treatise in support of spiritual depravation. That's entertainment, eh?

This film is beautifully written, wonderfully acted and well directed. And you could not pay me to watch it a second time!
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9/10
A Sense of Being
justin-w-nadolski2 February 2019
This should be a requirement for everyone. How intertwined our lives may no longer be, at least in the personal or first-hand experience! There is not as much pain as their is breadth to the vast reaches of a simply verbal touch.
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6/10
DON'T YOU LIKE NEW JERSEY?
nogodnomasters30 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This is an indie film with multiple themes,including the title. The movie starts off with multiple subplots and in pure indie fashion weaves them together to show how important we all are as we touch each other lives if just for a moment. Yawn. There are also themes about "What is life?" and being alone, and how things have changed, but are still the same, but are not anymore. The film also uses idiotic statements such as "How do we seek purpose while convincing ourselves there isn't any?" Answer: You don't. It is like asking "Why do we always find something in the last place we look?"

The film centers around Dr. Walter Zarrow (Sam Waterston) whose life intersects with all the characters and not Kristen Stewart who owns a curling iron that you can't tell by her disheveled hair. Dr. Zarrow's class provides use with an endless stream of theme elements overloading the average viewer in bad indie fashion, allowing them to pick and choose what they want to get out of the film. Was it about changing truths or liking New Jersey? There is a theme about things that don't fit into our standard norms are marginalized by society.

Having sat through so many of these types of films, I didn't find this one anymore entertaining than the rest of them and in fact the ending speech was way too much as if the script writer was trying to cram the entire day he spent at college into three minutes.

Indie lovers will surely love it. Coming of Age, adultery, drinking, drug use, masochism. Kristen Stewart called the "C" word (my favorite part.)

Guide: F-bomb, no sex or nudity.
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6/10
A series of well performed interlinked stories.
subxerogravity19 January 2016
It's a series of short films tied together tightly to make one feature. Tim Black Nelson does a good job at directing himself and a group of strong actors in this film about dealing with the choices we make while living our lives, from a variety of different levels, which makes it such a perfect film about New York.

Everyone was good, but I gravitate greatly towards the performance of Micheal K. Williams whose doing something far different than the roles that he's really known for.

The whole movie was a masterpiece. Such an amazing set of stories being told.
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7/10
To learn what happened on that particular evening!
Reno-Rangan4 September 2016
It is not great, but still a good film. Starred in an important role and directed by Tim Blake Nelson. I think he also wrote it decently that remind us similar classics. A multi-layered narrative, where everyone has connections or meets at one stage of the story. It sets in one fine evening followed by a mysterious tragedy. Then the story moves back in time for days to introduce all the characters and their intentions in the life. Different families dealing the different issues, but they all lead to that particular evening where it somewhere links them in and bring a fitting end with a twist.

So when the film nears the final segment, the curious among us rises. The common mistake we make while predicting the end is once again certain when the final push successfully takes us by a surprise. I am not saying it is a masterstroke, but comparing with the rest of the film, it was good. An independent drama film, except some sexual and drug references, it can be watched by the adults and matured teens, but the pace might trouble you in some parts with slowing a bit.

Actors were awesome. Since it is a multi-starrer, everyone had small screenspace, but excelled in that. The disappointment is Kristen Stewart, if you are going to expect more from her role. So the film lacks the star value. Having a good story, but not having the marketable stars made the film to sink deep bottom without a trace. Yep, as for now it needs more viewers, despite whatever result it produces. Other than that this film surely not bad as it was tagged. I will definitely recommend it.

7/10
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6/10
Pain = Pain Reliever...or Prepare to Suffer
LeonLouisRicci16 July 2016
This is one of those Thoughtful "Good Try" Films that will be Proudly Ignored, Shunned, and Berated by the Masses as Pretentious Pandering to the Intellectuals and Targeted for Snobby Thinkers who Think Too Much and Look Down on those that don't Think Enough.

Like the "Machines" Generations that have Grown Up on 1's and 0's and Tiny Rectangular Devices that are Like Weapons some Alien Race would Covertly Introduce into Society to Extract the Soul and Take Over the Planet.

Everyone is "In Pain". Probably since the Beginning of Time because it is a "House of Pain" that is Our Home. Sure there's Pleasure but only for Balance. The Universal "Law" of Duality is Inescapable, things are Born (even stars), begin to Atrophy and Die, Not without much Pain in the Process.

This may be the most Compelling Argument for the Non-Existence of "God". Aside from a Jokester Creator, what sense, other than Sadism or Entertainment, would make the Creator of the Universe Stoop to the "Big things eating little things" to Survive, the MO of Existence. Philosophy Strains to Explain, and Religions Really Strain to Explain.

Writer/Director/Actor Tim Blake Nelson Really Really Strains to Explain in the Form of a Film that Wears its Pain on its Sleeve and is a Pain most of the Time Wallowing in the Non-Sense of it all (Life), and the Futility of Trying Trying Trying to Lecture when the Subject Matter has been Lectured to Death since Humans began to Think.

If this Sounds like Something You want to Wrap Your Head Around, this Movie's for You. But be Advised, it is Recommended You are "Comfortably Numb" while Viewing.

While the Movie makes No Bones that it is Thinking, and Thinking and Thinking, Philosophy, Religion, and yes, Screenplays can do No More than Present What is Happening but Not Why and Life most of the Time does Not End Pleasantly, like a Knife in the Back.
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9/10
An outstanding display of shades of life with interwoven stories of despair, loneliness, desires and happiness: A masterpiece by Tim Blake nelson
hermatician20 May 2018
Although, it may seem to many about loneliness and melancholy... its much much more than that. The movie shows a mature examination of the effects of technology, industrialization and almost everything which describes the 20th century human life, narrated by the central character Prof. Walter Zarrow. Some of the scenes are written and directed wonderfully by Tim, especially the one where Kristen Stewart shouts out loud how lonely her life is and Prof. Walter is probably just mesmerized at the young raw intelligence in so much grief. The movie also shows how inconvenient and difficult it can be to even call a friend in need, and how easily a stranger can buzz in a stranger in a tragic situation. The writing is so philosophical and intelligent that not a single sentence should be missed without digesting it. Surely its all bagel platter for philosophy and psychology students, but so it may be for others as well. The drug addict cites Augustine and Walter cites Montaigne before death and as a compliment, this movie can be and I am sure will be cited (at least by me) in many practical situations.
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