Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002)



Critic Consensus: Uneven, but a keenly observed and well-acted film about three women's lives.

Personal Velocity: Three Portraits Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Three women whose lives have followed very different paths ponder their pasts and their futures in this omnibus film from second-time director Rebecca Miller, adapted from her acclaimed short story collection of the same name. Delia (Kyra Sedgwick) grew up in a fractured household; her mother abandoned the family when Delia was a child, and her father (Brian Tarantina) was a drug-addled loser who could barely be prodded off the couch. When she entered adolescence, Delia realized that she could use her body to get men to do as she pleased. While this gained her a feeling of power and self-sufficiency, it also earned her a reputation as the "class slut," and the end product was her marriage to Kurt (David Warshofsky). Greta (Parker Posey) is the daughter of a successful lawyer (Ron Leibman) who left her mother when she was young and offered Greta criticism rather than affection. Plagued with self-doubt, Greta is squandering her literary talents editing cookbooks and is married to Lee (Tim Guinee. When Thavi (Joel de la Fuente), a respected and successful young novelist, asks Greta to edit his next novel, it forces her to reassess herself on a number of levels. Finally, Paula (Fairuza Balk), yet another product of a fractured family, ran away from her mother and was homeless until she met Vincent (Seth Gilliam), who took her in and became her boyfriend. A year later, Paula is uncertain in her feelings about Vincent, unsettled to learn that she's pregnant, and startled after witnessing a murder while out clubbing with a friend; she hits the road again, and soon picks up a fellow alienated teen, Kevin (Lou Taylor Pucci), who bears the scars of a recent -- and very brutal -- beating. Personal Velocity: Three Portraits was honored with the Grand Jury Prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.more
Rating: R (for brief violence, some strong sexuality and language)
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Rebecca Miller
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 18, 2003
Box Office: $0.6M
United Artists - Official Site


Wallace Shawn
as Mr. Gelb
Seth Gilliam
as Vincent
Ron Leibman
as Avram Herskovitz
Nick Cubbler
as John Wurtzle
Nicole Murphy
as May Wurtzle
Sarah Morf
as Claire Wurtzle
Laura Finelli
as Young Delia
Dean Strange
as Norwegian Man
Michi Barall
as Felicia Wong
Tim Hopper
as Mr, Brown, the Adven...
Maria Elena Ramirez
as News Reporter
Susan Blommaert
as Mrs. Toron
Peter Galman
as Man in His 50's
Tony Osso
as Waiter
Brian Bell
as Playwright
Bill Burns
as Court Steps Reporter
Jennifer Lent
as Young Fay
Lynne Anne Hart
as Mylert's Mother
Eileen Stancage
as Old Woman
Corinne Brownsell
as Dunkin Donuts Cashie...
Eleanor Niel
as Girl on Swing
Stephi Licciardi
as Girl on Swing
Samantha Steinel
as Girl on Swing
Nick Cubbler
as John Wurtzle
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Personal Velocity: Three Portraits

Critic Reviews for Personal Velocity: Three Portraits

All Critics (116) | Top Critics (33)

This beautifully realized film retains the essential qualities of short fiction: precision, compactness, a focus on epiphanic moments.

Full Review… | December 13, 2002
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

These are complex characters.

Full Review… | December 13, 2002
Denver Post
Top Critic

Story about life's turning points is not for kids.

Full Review… | December 27, 2010
Common Sense Media

Miller has made a provocative, intimate triptych of short stories.

Full Review… | July 29, 2003
Sunday Times (Australia)

It's quite a stylised piece and it's credit to the cast and the filmmakers that the characters engage us to the extent that they do.

Full Review… | July 15, 2003
Urban Cinefile

Three short stories about women at turning points in their lives, the movie gains power by condensing each story to 30 minutes each.

Full Review… | April 14, 2003

Audience Reviews for Personal Velocity: Three Portraits


Not my cup of tea. I don't mind the short stories, but other that the fact the three women are having troubles in part due to their upbringing, the stories do not inter-relate at all.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer


This film is comprised of three portraits of women, one escaping from an abusive marriage, one considering adultery, and one who picks up a hitchhiker.
Overly expository, these stories are undeveloped. The transition between short story and film is a difficult one, and Rebecca Miller clings to her prose with an obsessive compulsion that doesn't recognize the visual nature of her new medium. And the need to give backstory on all of her characters doesn't even work in prose.
All three of the stories revolve around the theme of characters being stuck by their own identities and pasts. It's an interesting theme, but I don't see anything new in the way it's presented or the individualities of the characters, excepting the final story with Fairuza Balk.
Overall, there is a difference between film and prose, and Miller doesn't adapt to that difference.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Great work by all three actresses and often movies with seperate stories bother me.

Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer

Personal Velocity: Three Portraits Quotes

– Submitted by Sreya A (3 years ago)

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