With a producer like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel
, 21 Grams
) and a writer-director like Rodrigo Garcia (Nine Lives
), you know you're in for a jumbo narrative of intersecting (and mostly sorrowful) lives. Garcia shows unusual restraint in keeping this one down to three major characters: an angry 51-year-old woman (Annette Bening) who's never recovered from her teenage pregnancy; the daughter she's never known (Naomi Watts), now an ambitious, sexually controlling attorney; and a woman whose desperate need to adopt (Kerry Washington) strains the bonds of her marriage. Extraneous characters and issues keep popping up, cramping the stories and forcing Garcia to develop his three women through overly pointed scenes, but this is well worth seeing for Bening's arresting, unpleasant performance. With Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, Tatyana Ali, Marc Blucas, and S. Epatha Merkerson.
See our full review:
In Rodrigo Garcia's films the writer is the boss—for better or worse.