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Rated NR · 90 minutes

This above-average 2009 literary adaptation, based on the Chekhov novella, centers on Laevsky, an unemployed layabout who reads books while living with another man's wife in a small town on the Black Sea; his mistress, who flirts with others and has little direction of her own; and a scientist who advocates for Darwin while disdaining Laevsky. Director Dover Koshashvili effectively captures turn-of-the-century ennui, but, more impressively, some of the feel of literary prose by intercutting characters in different locales, pausing the narrative for thoughtful close-ups that evoke interiority. The excellent acting conveys the principals' emotional ambiguities.

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