Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

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.
R (for brief violence, some strong sexuality and language)
Documentary , Drama , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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John Ventimiglia
as Narrator
Kyra Sedgwick
as Delia Shunt
Parker Posey
as Greta Herskowitz
Wallace Shawn
as Mr. Gelb
Seth Gilliam
as Vincent
Ron Leibman
as Avram Herskovitz
Nick Cubbler
as John Wurtzle
Nicole Murphy
as May Wurtzle
Sarah Morf
as Claire Wurtzle
Laura Finelli
as Young Delia
Dean Strange
as Norwegian Man
Michi Barall
as Felicia Wong
Tim Hopper
as Mr, Brown, the Adventist
Maria Elena Ramirez
as News Reporter
Susan Blommaert
as Mrs. Toron
Peter Galman
as Man in His 50's
Tony Osso
as Waiter
Quentin Mare
as Darius
Brian Bell
as Playwright
Kaluska Poventud
as Maroushka
Bill Burns
as Court Steps Reporter
Jennifer Lent
as Young Fay
Lynne Anne Hart
as Mylert's Mother
Eileen Stancage
as Old Woman
Corinne Brownsell
as Dunkin Donuts Cashier
Eleanor Niel
as Girl on Swing
Stephi Licciardi
as Girl on Swing
Samantha Steinel
as Girl on Swing
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Critic Reviews for Personal Velocity: Three Portraits

All Critics (100) | Top Critics (30)

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

December 13, 2002
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

These are complex characters.

Full Review… | December 13, 2002
Denver Post
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | December 13, 2002
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

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

December 13, 2002
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

If the movie is finally stuck halfway been cinema and prose, Miller proves that it's not an unfertile place to linger.

Full Review… | December 13, 2002
Top 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

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


3 very unhappy and unfortunate victims of lives gone bad. This is a documentary... not having a plot, or a beginning or an ending. It is not a movie. It is a collection of short stories, as the author wrote them. If you ever shot film with a shaky camcorder, this one is for you. The sheer sadness of these lives is displayed in graphic and probably too realistic detail. Although very well acted, it is all wasted because there is no plot. I do not recommmend this film if you expect a typical movie flick. This one is way too serious for words. Get this if you want to be depressed and be provided stark realism of messed up people. This one may be for you on a strange night. I would not presume to know what you like, but depending on your mood at the time, this film could be very interesting or very depressing.

monsieur rick
monsieur rick

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