High Art (1998)


Critic Consensus: A surprisingly sultry performance from Ally Sheedy elevates High Art from pretentious melodrama to compelling -- if still a little pretentious -- romance.


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Movie Info

Lisa Cholodenko's Sundance award-winning romantic drama about a photo magazine editor and the heroin-addicted former photo prodigy with whom she falls in love is ripe in cliches and artifice, but features two of the year's best performances, from Ally Sheedy and newcomer Radha Mitchell.

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Critic Reviews for High Art

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (7)

A highlight of the 1998 Sundance Festival: Cholodenko depicts with unwavering veracity the breakup of one longtime lesbian relationship just as another, unexpected one begins. The acting of the three women, Sheedy Mitchell, and Clarkson, is superb.

Dec 5, 2006 | Rating: B+
Top Critic

High Art is often compelling and uncannily accurate in its evocation of downtown demi-monde characters and druggy, entropic milieu-the art in this film is high in more ways than one.

Apr 11, 2018 | Full Review…

Clarkson's Greta... is wickedly funny, while Mitchell's ingénue convincingly combines puppyish idealism and steely ambition. But it is Sheedy's Lucy, nonchalantly sexy, sharply intelligent, tough and vulnerable, who is the film's heart and soul.

Aug 14, 2016 | Full Review…

Warmed-over Red Shoe Diaries episode wrapped in a blanket of pretension.

Apr 7, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Solid, sexy drama with a dash of wit. Fine performances especially by Clarkson.

Apr 1, 2005 | Rating: 4/5

Who knew Ally Sheedy was so sexy?

Aug 30, 2004 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for High Art


Absorbing psychological tug-of-war ensues for the attentions of fragile, reclusive photographer Lucy (Ally Sheedy) between her current girlfriend, junkie German former actress Greta (Patricia Clarkson) and her newly introduced downstairs neighbor, assistant magazine layout editor Syd (Radha Mitchell) who can get her vocation back on the fast track. The title has a double meaning as Lucy is torn, she can choose to remain in her current situation of privacy locked in a world of drug-fueled parties and a debilitatingly dependent Greta, or gain the strength to get clean and join Syd which also means facing the pressures that drove her away from the photography business in the first place. This trio of actresses is equally excellent in showing each character's vulnerabilities and makes the film worth watching, even if it seems to end with a chapter missing.

Doctor Strangeblog
Doctor Strangeblog

Super Reviewer

This is the film that had everyone aflutter because here we have Ally Sheedy coming out of the woodwork years after the Breakfast Club and she is a les-bion. She does a wonderful job but what happened to her co-star Radha Mitchell?

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Cholodenko's debut brims with luscious cinematography.Literally!!The trio is demanding in every frame,projecting the pessimism of life,abnormalities in relationships,a Queer film without the cliches of this genre (I refuse to call it that way).Clarkson is so fuckin' underrated I swear she could play an animated freak and still play as gorgeous as ever.Gloomy atmosphere during the sex scenes.

Dimitris Springer
Dimitris Springer

Super Reviewer

Wonderfully cast and played out.

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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