Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002)


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


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Movie Info

A tale of three women who have reached a turning point in their lives. Delia is a spirited, working-class woman from a small town in New York who leaves her abusive husband and sets out on a journey to reclaim the power she has lost. Greta is a sharp, spunky editor who is rotten "with ambition" despite her own intentions. To spite the hated infidel ways of her father, she has settled into a complacent relationship and is struggling (not too hard) with issues of fidelity to her kind but unexciting husband. Finally Paula, who ran away from home and got pregnant, is now in a relationship she doesn't want. She's a troubled young woman who takes off on a journey with a hitchhiker after a strange, fateful encounter on a New York street.

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Critic Reviews for Personal Velocity: Three Portraits

All Critics (103) | Top Critics (32)

Miller is a witty and socially acute observer; the three portraits in "Personal Velocity" are told with both novelistic richness and brisk, confident economy.

Mar 6, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

This uneven triptych features flawed female heroines whose woes are attributable to unstable or bland male partners and simple bad luck.

Sep 29, 2017 | Full Review…

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

Dec 13, 2002 | Rating: A

These are complex characters.

Dec 13, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

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

Dec 13, 2002 | Rating: B | Full Review…

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

Dec 13, 2002 | Rating: A-

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
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
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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

Sunil Jawahir
Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer

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