Thirteen Conversations About One Thing Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 26, 2011
Several intertwining stories in this elegant confusion of an ensemble piece of a small film about THE MEANING OF LIFE (only w/o the capital letters). Excellent performances abound.
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2011
One of those intertwining ensemble stories that almost makes it but not quite. The titular "one thing" isn't always clear. It could be several things: fortune, happiness, love, guilt, faith, trust, fate, coincidence, et cetera. All the individual stories are really quite beautiful though, with moments of deep elation and moments of inexplicable grief.
Super Reviewer
November 5, 2010
Definitely an intelligent film. It's not for everybody, though. It's not the most entertaining movie I've ever seen. Eccentric, and at times confusing. Rather slow.
Super Reviewer
February 21, 2009
A man approaching middle age decides to change his life. A rising young attorney's plans are thrown into disarray as the result of a single act. A woman faces her husband's infidelity. An envious businessman seeks revenge on a cheerful coworker. And an optimistic young cleaning woman awaits a miracle. These ordinary people all find themselves asking the fundamental question philosophers have pondered throughout history: What is happiness, and how does one achieve it?..

Great Story... Casting was terrific, and acting, excellent Clea DuVall was fab.. well worth watching..
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2007
One of the best 'interconnected' storyline films ever.
Super Reviewer
June 2, 2006
So much irony in a single movie, wow... A must-see. A powerful and poignant look about urban lives interconnecting.
Super Reviewer
April 12, 2010
(2001 Director: Jill Sprechler) I don't remember this one well, but I have seen it! Perhaps it's a sort of "mood" type movie?!

There is one movie that comes to mind that this reminds me of, well two really. One is stories of married couples living in New York & their rate of attrition (busted relationships)...The other is I think an excellent film (to be continued)
½ July 27, 2008
The story runs a bit slow from part to part but the overall story, the theme of the film was quite interesting. If you have 2 hours to waste, definitely see this film.
½ January 31, 2007
This movie is so underrated... Jill Sprecher did a great job showing complexities of humanity in such a variety of characters and then weave their stories together so flawlessly. Brilliant. Also, Clea DuVall and Matthew McConaughey actings were great, as always.
September 28, 2007
This movie closely foreshadowed my own personal life. I thought that the themes of the movie were adult and very worthy of frank discussion. However, most of the audience viewing the film were unwilling to discuss the themes. I believe that they thought their own self-serving middle class life would never come crashing down. As luck would have it, they have been promoted and gotten big raises. But the main question is what exactly do we owe our friends who become disabled or unemployed? If they cannot earn an income, are they worthy of our moral support? And, are they still worth being our friends if they cannot support our self centered lives? An extremely powerful film. Unlike any other.
January 17, 2007
its a bunch of movies that talk about all different ppl. its not as violentj as mores perros. their all different and everyone is good in this as they learn about things. the chapter headings r dum.
June 22, 2006
As I said this week in my review of Crash, I like movies with interlocking stories, so there were moments of this I really liked. I loved the connections, I loved the fact that it moved backwards in time, and I loved the quotes used from the movie as section titles. I even liked (although not loved) most of the stories. But the dialogue... oh, man. The dialogue in several sections of the movie made me wince. NO ONE talks like that! Also, it was one of the bleakest movies I've seen in a long time. Even the stories that end up happy don't feel happy. I don't have a problem with unhappy necessarily, but this left me incredibly depressed. Too bad, because it had some wonderful moments.
September 15, 2006
A great script and wonderful performances (especially from Clea DuVall) make this one work very well.
½ February 11, 2015
I was on board for the beginning of this movie, looking forward to seeing how the pieces fit together. There was a little light tinge, mostly generated by the quirky score that lent the movie a sort of strange, supernatural feel. Unfortunately, the score is probably the best thing about this movie, that and the acting.

You know what Ben can't help but like? Movies with weird connections between people, or narratives where one thing unexpectedly triggers another thing, or where the viewer later finds out the crazy reason why something earlier happened. You know what Ben doesn't like? When so much weight and unnecessary emphasis is put on these connections. As much as I'm fascinated by the idea of people's lives interweaving in strange and surprising ways, movies like this and Crash seem to put a lot of emphasis on it in hokey and uninteresting ways. After a while, it's not surprising anymore to see little connections. It has to be understated to be compelling, and this movie isn't understated.

There are some moments of levity in the movie, especially in Alan Arkin's segments, but they're very few and far between, and somehow they never feel bright enough to lighten the heaviness of the other dark things going on. Around halfway through the movie, it occurred to me that there wasn't much I actively liked anymore besides the music, and in the second half, the movie just settles into this kind of slog that I didn't enjoy very much.

Probably my least favorite thing about this movie is how the themes are completely lacking in subtlety. The characters say exactly what they think about life and happiness, and none of the opinions are that revolutionary. Life is essentially godless and random? People affect each other? Time works in weird ways? I don't know, maybe I'm missing some hidden brilliance in this film, but everything seemed so dour and blunt to me. That scene with John Turturro finding out his student committed suicide was laughably bad. I can't be the only one that found it funny, can I? Was I supposed to be genuinely affected when I watched John Turturro stare into the distance in horror at the fact that some student killed himself just because he didn't let him redo his essay? So over-sentimental. Same with the scene with Beatrice telling her friend about how everything is random and things just happen. This movie was the definition of telling instead of showing.

It would've helped if any of this felt natural. Some of it does; Matthew McConaughey is a really good actor, and some of his segments were emotional, like when he cut open that spot on his head again in shame of what he did. But John Turturro, who's generally a good actor (from what I've heard), couldn't help but sound so scripted in almost every line he spoke. No character was ever hesitant about anything. It was just boring monologues, all in the abstract. Most of this movie, I was just rolling my eyes.
½ March 30, 2014
Maybe this flick had some "profound" philosophical gems to say about life, but it was SOOOOOO depressing, I feel like watching the zombie horror movie I have on my DVR just to cheer myself up! Anything would be a mood improvement over this film. I normally like the intersecting-lives type movies, but this was just like one long Twilight Zone in terms of the terribly ironic. Even the music sounded similar, but used the same refrain over and over until I felt ready to scream. Don't watch this on a rainy, gloomy day, or you might end up doing what Matthew McConaughey's character did. (Warning--it wasn't good.) Why do critics always love this type of profoundly unhappy film?
December 8, 2013
Occasionally I see a film that I believe is very important and should be digested by people I love and/or hope to be happy. This is an earnest attempt that succeeds and does give a view of the human condition and what must be endured with empathy and support. The acting is top rate.
October 11, 2013
Alan Arkin again shows that's he's one of the most underrated supporting actors going today. Give this guy some lead roles.
June 8, 2013
its an intersecting lives movie (if thats a genre) thats dialogue driving and asks interesting questions about chance vs fate vs luck. we need more of these movies, or at least more moves with themes such as this one.
August 28, 2012
Written by philosophers this movie shows us how our philosophies (aware of them or not) play out in our everyday relationships.
January 19, 2011
Never lets me down. There isn't a scene that goes wrong. Filled with life and perceptive observational humor. Intelligent and entertaining all at once, a movie about happiness that will stick with you long after you've seen it.
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