"Post-Modern Point of View"
PERSONAL VELOCITY is a movie about three different women struggling to gain a sense of self-respect and direction. This R-rated movie contains foul language, sexual immorality and a humanist worldview with Romantic elements.
PERSONAL VELOCITY is Rebecca Miller’s second feature film. It garnered two awards (Dramatic Competition Grand Jury Prize Award and Excellence in Cinematography Award) at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival this year. Rebecca Miller is the daughter of playwright Arthur Miller and shades of her life echo throughout these three stories of women struggling to gain a sense of self-respect and direction.
The first story, “Delia” with Kyra Sedgwick, is about a once promiscuous young woman who finds herself in an abusive relationship with her husband of twelve years. After realizing the effect his beating her has on her children, she escapes one night with them. Delia tries to disappear from her husband’s radar while she establishes a life on her own. Rebecca Miller’s theme in these three stories is that “character is destiny.” The story of Delia is about a woman who’s found her only power in sexual seduction, and guess how Delia regains her sense of power?
“Greta,” starring Parker Posey, is the daughter of a famous, wealthy Jewish man (sound familiar?) who is living below her “heft” as a cookbook editor. If that weren’t enough to disappoint her father, she’s also married to a WASP. Through a series of fluke events, she gets the opportunity to edit a famous author’s work. She achieves both fame and fortune as she’s snapped up at a much higher salary by another firm. Greta hates redundancy. Her husband, Lee, had been a safety blanket when her world wasn’t so rosy. She also struggles with fidelity. She exercises her “character” once life is rosy once again.
In perhaps the most interesting story and the only one written specifically for the screen, “Paula” with Fairuza Balk examines the life of a troubled 21-year-old at a crossroads. Paula has a crisis when she realizes she is pregnant by her live-in boyfriend. Paula has an unshaken belief that things happen for a reason, but she is pretty sure she is going to end her pregnancy because her relationship isn’t quite right. After Paula has a near-death experience, she drives off in panic to her mother’s house in upstate New York. On the way, she picks up a young badly beaten boy, whom she decides to nurse. The story ends with her realizing she’s going to keep the child and dancing away with joy.
While PERSONAL VELOCITY is shot on digital, in a shaky, sometimes irritating cinema verité way and tells its stories with too much honesty (language, sex and violence), it is quite engaging. Rebecca obviously has the gift of telling an engrossing story. However, her point of view is very post-modern (life has no meaning), but the last story is so touching, it may redeem the whole movie for some or many viewers.
(HH, Ro, B, LL, V, SS, A, D, M) Humanist worldview with Romantic elements and at least one moral element when woman decides not to abort her baby; 10 obscenities and two profanities; man punches man and man hits wife twice; two scenes of pre-marital sex, two scenes of adultery, and one scene of masturbation; alcohol; smoking; and, miscellaneous immorality such as abortion rebuked and domestic abuse.
PERSONAL VELOCITY is a drama written and directed by Rebecca Miller, the daughter of famed playwright Arthur Miller. Shades of her life echo throughout these three stories of three women struggling to gain a sense of self-respect and direction in their lives. In two of the stories, the women struggle with fidelity. One of them is an abused wife, who leaves her husband with her children in tow. The other woman uses her husband as a safety blanket whenever her life does not seem so rosy. In the third story, a young pregnant woman considers having an abortion until circumstances intervene to make her rethink her evil decision.
While PERSONAL VELOCITY is shot on digital, in a shaky, sometimes irritating cinema verité way and tells its stories with too much foul language, sex and violence, it is quite engaging. Ms. Miller obviously has the gift of telling an engrossing story. Her point of view is very post-modern (life has no meaning), however, but the last story is so touching, it may redeem the whole movie for some viewers. Ultimately, though, the movie reflects a humanist worldview, with Romantic elements about individual human destiny.