GROUP Add To My Top 10

Do We All Feel Better, Kind Of, Yet?

Content -2
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: August 02, 2002

Starring: Carrie Brownstein, Karen Fillipi, S. Ann Hall, Tracy Kirkpatrick, Nomy Lamm, Ruby Martin, Lola Rock N’ Rolla, and Tony Wilkerson

Genre: Mockumentary/Comedy

Audience: Adults

Rating: Not Rated

Runtime: 106 minutes

Address Comments To:

Sande Zeig, President
Artistic License Films
250 West 57th Street, Suite 606
New York, NY 10107
Phone: (212) 265-9119
Fax: (212) 262-9299
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.artlic.com

Content:

(PaPa, HoHo, Ab, Fe,C, LLL, D, B, Fe, M) Pagan worldview with group members led by feelings that are often immoral, character advised if she “feels like” doing something, she should, strong pro-homosexual content (verbal only) with some discussion of homophobia being fear or not understanding homosexuals as well as anti-Biblical and Christian comments made by several group members, fairly well-articulated Christian message including Jesus’ name and strong references to and demonstrations of love and forgiveness, prayer, Scripture quoted in positive way and received well by nonbelievers, and feminist perspective with no males mentioned except males who have moral failings (adultery, abandonment, alcoholism, rape); very strong language with 44 obscenities (mostly the “f” word) and eight profanities using God and Jesus’ name, some graphic discussions of sex, discussions of the male private part, sexual transition and female anatomy; no sex or nude scenes but verbal homosexual references and graphic discussions of sex and human anatomy; two characters smoke cigarettes, two characters declare Jewish faith though they live immoral lives, one character demonstrates Biblical values of love, forbearance; and, characters verbally attack one another.


Summary:

GROUP tries to be a comedy/mockumentary that looks into the lives and problems of members of a therapy group, but fails to be funny or to provide any real answers to the problems with which the women struggle. GROUP takes an interesting cinematic approach and includes some strong performances, but becomes tedious and ultimately unsatisfying.


Review:

GROUP takes an interesting approach to the mockumentary genre by simulating group therapy, using actresses as the group members and a real therapist to moderate their interactions. The characters are described as: “a queer punk amputee, a born-again Christian, a hypochondriac, a sex-rocker, a tramp, a binger and an enigma.”



The movie spans 21 weeks of therapy sessions in a six-way split screen approach. (Think intro to the old Brady Bunch show.) There was no script. Each actress worked from a narrative line for her character with real life therapist Ruby Martin guiding the unscripted discussion. Of course, there is crying, LOTS of crying.



The movie is intended to be a “fresh, powerful view of cinema and humanity,” allowing viewers to choose which frame to watch as the dialog unfolds and be an active participant in the action. While it is an interesting approach, GROUP grows tedious and aimless, which may mirror real life therapy, but doesn’t really make for great film.



The goal of this GROUP seems to be for the women to find happiness. At the end of the movie, one character claims that she is “still confused, but happier more.” Another proclaims that “nobody is really happy.” Considering the serious problems these women discuss in each session, there should have been a greater, deeper goal.



GROUP is rife with homosexual, pagan and feminist dogma. “Gender is what you make it,” one woman says. “We’re all just trying to be who we are,” the therapist intones. Pipi (Nomy Lamm), a self-declared “queer, “ demands that no one should make assumptions about the genders of people with whom she sleeps. As each woman pours out her story of abandonment, rape or infidelity, the therapist focuses on how it makes them FEEL. The best she can offer when Pipi is afraid she has cancer is that she is “wishing good things for her.” She does consistently encourage group support and acceptance, but it is all heart and no head, and few boundaries.



The born-again Christian, Clancey( Tony Wilkerson), adds a refreshing perspective to the ensemble. She talks about her walk with God, references Jesus Christ, reads Scripture, and offers prayer and love to the women in the group. Clancey is not the typical ranting or foolish Christian so many filmmakers enjoy portraying. While she does appear very genuine, however, Clancey stops short of the full gospel message. She asks the women to forgive her for being judgmental, but doesn’t draw a clear enough distinction between sin and the sinner, leaving the impression that their behavior may be simply something with which she does not agree. She does, however, show genuine love and empathy for many of the women in the group. The Christian viewer is left wondering, though, why Clancey would seek group therapy advertised as “Queer Friendly” in the first place.



Towards the end of the movie, which feels very long and does not evoke the laughter its comedy/mockumentary promises, Martin reminds her group that they all really want to be good: but, what is good? The movie doesn’t bother to examine this at all. Instead, the women want to be accepted for “who they are, “ even if that includes abhorrent behaviors.



GROUP makes for some interesting viewing and some characters do deliver good performances, but the overall emptiness of its message prohibits it from being worthwhile and instead of enlightening, GROUP leaves viewers who care to think past feelings, unsatisfied.


In Brief:

GROUP takes an interesting approach to the mockumentary genre by simulating group therapy, using actresses as the group members and a real therapist to moderate their interactions. The characters are described as: “a queer punk amputee, a born-again Christian, a hypochondriac, a sex-rocker, a tramp, a binger, and an enigma.” The movie spans 21 weeks of sessions in a six-way split screen approach. There was no script. Each actress worked from a narrative line for her character with real life therapist Ruby Martin guiding the discussion.



Towards the end of the movie, which feels very long and does not evoke the laughter its comedy/mockumentary label promises, Martin reminds her group that they all really want to be good: but, what is good? The movie doesn’t examine this at all. Instead, the women want to be accepted for “who they are,” even if that includes abhorrent behaviors. GROUP makes for some interesting viewing and some characters do deliver good performances, but it is rife with homosexual, pagan and feminist dogma. The overall emptiness of its message prohibits it from being worthwhile, and GROUP leaves viewers who care to think on past feelings, unsatisfied