Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002)



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

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 … 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


as Mr. Gelb

as Vincent

as Avram Herskovitz

as John Wurtzle

as May Wurtzle

as Claire Wurtzle

as Young Delia

as Norwegian Man

as Felicia Wong

as Mr, Brown, the Adv...

as News Reporter

as Mrs. Toron

as Man in His 50's

as Waiter

as Playwright

as Court Steps Reporter

as Young Fay

as Mylert's Mother

as Old Woman

as Dunkin Donuts Cashie...

as Girl on Swing

as Girl on Swing

as Girl on Swing
Show More Cast

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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.

| 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 (2 years ago)

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