The Myth of Fingerprints

Newcity Chicago

DIRECTED BY: Bart Freundlich

REVIEWED: 10-27-97

A J. Crew Cheez Doodle. To paraphrase Tolstoy, while happy families are all alike, all unhappy-family movies, when done poorly, are alike as well. Something's missing in "The Myth of Fingerprints"; something's slipped away and it's not the lives of the characters, who exist mostly as shadows of performances past from the talented actors given an arbitrary, uninteresting script to inhabit. (We won't even bother with the act of drawing one's title from the lyrics of a Paul Simon song.) Thanksgiving in New England after a family's been thrown to the winds for three years. Everybody shares the same dumb secret. Dad got drunk at a party once and snuck a kiss from somebody else's girl. Motivations are either cardboard or so elliptical they're incomprehensible. The only actor on screen who burbles with the repressed rage seemingly intended to motor the movie is Julianne Moore. Her character, Mia, is an asshole and Moore is magnificent. Then other characters talk: take James LeGros' neighbor, who's changed his name to Cezanne. Please. Roll call! Taciturn dad: Roy Scheider. Bulwark mom: Blythe Danner. Simple-hearted, soft-headed yuppie brother: Noah Wyle. Stick of wood fiance for Mia: Brian Kerwin. Sweet young sister: Laurel Holloman. You could go on. Freundlich does. "The Myth of Fingerprints" is too, too precious. 90m

--Ray Pride

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Film Vault Suggested Links
Gods and Monsters
Mrs. Dalloway
All About Eve

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