Things Behind the Sun

Things Behind the Sun (2001)

Genres - Drama, Culture & Society, Music  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama, Feminist Film, Musical Drama  |   Release Date - Oct 12, 2001 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 117 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jason Clark

A very personal effort for director Allison Anders (the film is not only based on her real-life rape of years back, but filmed in the very same house where it occurred), Things Behind the Sun nevertheless skirts the bounds of tastefulness with the director's predilection for in-your-face rape scenes and for keeping her lead actors in various states of undress, both of which feel more excessive than necessary. A stilted, unconvincing drama hampered by a leaden screenplay that spells everything out at least twice too often, the film does have an appealing grasp of the small-town doldrums experienced by its lead character. The movie is beautifully photographed by Terry Stacey, who gives the film's downbeat tone some distinction. Anders' intrusive, often silly direction removes any possibility of relating to the material, and Kim Dickens and Gabriel Mann are callow and unlikable as the film's focal points. Like much of the director's oeuvre, the film is extremely uneven and feels more like her own therapy session than a fully realized movie. After a debut at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, the decision was made to premiere the gritty drama on cable, assuring it would have a wider audience.