Three more films from the 90's.
[b]The Talented Mr. Ripley[/b], directed by Anthony Minghella, is the screen adaption of Patricia Highsmith's novel of the same name. This psychological thriller stars Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, a poor but extremely gifted young man who encounters wealthy tycoon Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn) after a piano recital. Ripley had swiped a Princeton jacket, so Mr. Greenleaf assumed he had been a student there and might know his son Dickie, and he offers Ripley money to go to Europe and convince his son to come back to the United States. Ripley jumps at the opportunity and he soon encounters Dickie (Jude Law) and beautiful fiance Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) lounging on an Italian beach. Dickie and Marge are charmed by the friendly, but seemingly naive Ripley, and soon the three become fast friends. Tom becomes enamored with the lavish lifestyle Dickie has, and soon he tries to emulate him. Meanwhile Dickie's friend Freddie (Philip Seymour Hoffman) suspects Ripley may have deeper motives. Eventually Dickie begins to tire of Tom, and an argument between the two men results in Dickie's death, which Ripley covers up. Tom Ripley then decides to use all the information he had gathered on Dickie and assuming his identity and beginning a lavish lifestyle of his own, reverting back to Tom only when he encounters Marge or Freddie. As Dickie's disappearance lingers, Marge and Freddie become suspicious of Tom.
[b]The Talented Mr. Ripley[/b] is Minghella's most cohesive work. The look and setting of this film is as lavish and grand as his other work, but since the story flows evenly and effortlessly it doesn't come off as pretentious. On the surface, Matt Damon seemed like an odd choice to play such a scheming sociopath like Ripley, but he's very effective in this film. However it's Jude Law who shines the most, easily the best performance of his career. Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and especially Philip Seymour Hoffman are also give very strong performances. A fascinating story about a fascinating man. Recommended.
[b]Felicia's Journey[/b], directed by Atom Egoyan, explores one young woman's journey to find a lost love. Felicia (Elaine Cassidy) is a somewhat naive woman from a small Irish village who fell in love with a British man much to the chagrin of her father. Now pregnant, Felicia searches for him without any luck. Enter Hilditch (Bob Hoskins), a seemingly kind catering manager who befriends Felicia and takes her in, promising to help her find her lost boyfriend. Unbeknownst to Felicia, Hilditch has a history of befriending and murdering needy young women.
[b]Felicia's Journey [/b]is a low key, slowly paced psychological drama. Although it's an interesting journey, it's not as emotionally powerful as Egoyan's [i]The Sweet Hereafter[/i]. The Bob Hoskins and Elaine Cassidy characters are more subdued than the Ian Holm and Sarah Polley characters in [i]Sweet Hereafter [/i]and the drama takes longer to build. It does have some of the same atmospheric qualities though. An interesting film no doubt, just not as consistently compelling.
[b]Postcards From the Edge[/b], directed by Mike Nichols, is a comedy drama about mother/daughter relationships and overcoming addiction. The story was written by Carrie Fisher, and is loosely based on the relationship of her and her mother Debbie Reynolds. Meryl Streep stars as Suzanne Vale, an actress with a drug problem who winds up in the emergency room and rehab after a drug overdose. Shirley MacLaine stars as her overbearing alcholic mother Doris, who had been a huge movie star in the 50's. When Suzanne is released from rehab, movie producers are wary of casting her due to insurance problems caused by Suzanne's addictions. Eventually she lands a role under the condition that she will be drug tested and must be "supervised" by her mother. The two women constantly tangle, leading to some comedic moments.
[b]Postcards From the Edge [/b]was a nice change of pace for Streep who always seemed to be cast in extremely dramatic roles. Although [b]Postcards From the Edge [/b]has many dramatic moments, it's a comedy at it's core, allowing Streep to loosen up, and she can be very funny in this film. MacLaine excels at bitchy, over-the-top chracters, and Doris is no exception. Doris may be aging, but she's a diva at heart. Although the dialogue is witty and sharp, the film does suffer a bit from a rather conventional script. I think it could have been a bit edgier while maintaining it's humor, but the performances of Streep and MacLaine make [i]Postcards [/i]a higly enjoyable view. Dennis Quaid and Gene Hackman have supporting roles and the film also features some funny cameos from Rob Reiner and Richard Dreyfuss.