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Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002)



Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 100
Fresh: 69 | Rotten: 31

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


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 30
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 7

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



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 2,677

My Rating

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



Rebecca Miller

Mar 18, 2003


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All Critics (116) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (69) | Rotten (31) | DVD (13)

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

December 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

These are complex characters.

December 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It accumulates small details that gradually create a feeling of narrative intimacy.

December 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Three exquisite boutique films whose impact is much larger than many movies five times their size.

December 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Redeemed by the fine performances and by the moody and effective digital photography of Ellen Kuras.

December 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ranging from funny to shattering and featuring some of the year's best acting, Personal Velocity gathers plenty of dramatic momentum.

December 13, 2002
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

December 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

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

July 29, 2003 Full Review Source: Sunday Times (Australia)
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.

July 15, 2003 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
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.

April 14, 2003 Full Review

Miller's film is bold and hearty, but it's also a ham-fisted wallop to the senses.

March 4, 2003 Full Review Source:

Unless you're the sort of person who loves the fiction found in The New Yorker and smaller literary magazines, you'd better avoid Personal Velocity.

February 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

All three women deliver remarkable performances.

January 24, 2003
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

You can't really blame Miller for being in love with her own words, but this film is more like a slide show accompanied by an audio book than a movie.

January 20, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A trilogy of stories about women on the edge that features no less than three rotten dads.

January 19, 2003 Full Review
Long Island Press

One of the most highly-praised disappointments I've had the misfortune to watch in quite some time.

January 17, 2003
Matt's Movie Reviews

The whole comes across more like a Lifetime special than an insightful examination of the women's lives.

January 17, 2003 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

The whole film has this sneaky feel to it %u2013 as if the director is trying to dupe the viewer into taking it all as Very Important simply because the movie is ugly to look at and not a Hollywood product.

January 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A stuffy bore, filled with amateurish psychological 'insights' that make it seem like a more-ambitious -- and infinitely more pretentious -- Lifetime channel cable movie.

January 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

None of the three stories has much narrative breadth ... but there is depth.

January 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune like a short story, or even poetry, in that it shifts our emotional center of gravity through a finely calibrated vernacular of gesture and language.

January 8, 2003 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Comes across like an audio book to which photos have been rather unnecessarily added.

January 3, 2003 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

Confuses its message with an ultimate desire to please, and contorting itself into an idea of expectation is the last thing any of these three actresses, nor their characters, deserve.

December 21, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

The acting is uniformly good by the three women stars, Kyra Sedgwick, Parker Posey, and Fairuza Balk.

December 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Together, Miller, Kuras and the actresses make Personal Velocity into an intricate, intimate and intelligent journey.

December 19, 2002
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Personal Velocity seems tailor-made for art-house audiences. It still cradles that short-story essence...but takes it to a place that stretches just beyond the page.

December 16, 2002 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

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.
February 22, 2014

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.
July 13, 2013
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Great work by all three actresses and often movies with seperate stories bother me.
April 4, 2009

Super Reviewer

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