Guinevere (1999)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Coming-of-Age, Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Sep 24, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Ace screenwriter Audrey Wells makes a minor impression with her well-written but unimaginative debut film on May-December romances, but thankfully has the brains to cast to cast the remarkable Sarah Polley in the lead role. Polley's intuitive, fascinating performance alone makes the film worth seeing, if only to show how one can create a fully-rounded, sympathetic character with a minimum of tricks and tics. The film coasts quite far on her considerable charm and intriguing presence, but is undone by Wells' unsteady handling of the film's progression. Guinevere sputters along at all the most inopportune times, and while the casting of Stephen Rea as Polley's love interest seems smart on the page, his unfocused performance mars the more interesting aspects of the central relationship. It is a devoted portrayal, but sometimes feels like it belongs in another movie, and as such makes it hard to summon much sympathy for Rea's character. Likewise, Jean Smart's lengthy, mid-film monologue chastising Rea for his actions is designed to be a real crowd-pleaser -- and she handles it nicely -- but it merely points out the film's inconsistent tone, never truly capitalizing on the emotional stress of the relationship it addresses. In all, the film is a mixed effort -- not without interest, but lacking in the fundamentals that would greatly improve its impact.