Heights

"Weak"

Heights Review


Since the modern cinema could easily be said to have a chronic Glenn Close deficiency, it seemed just peachy when the 24-hours-in-some-New-Yorkers'-lives flick Heights opened with a good dose of the lady herself, only to see watch the film spend far too much of the rest of it dealing with other, lesser characters. Close plays Diana Lee, a famous actress moonlighting as an acting teacher who, in that opening scene, tears apart two of her students in front of the whole class, castigating them for their rote recitations of Macbeth. She declaims the modern age's loss of grand emotions and the substitution of meekness, fairly screaming at her worshipful wannabes, "Passion!" If only the movie that proceeded from that point had followed her advice.

As possibly the last film to come out from Merchant Ivory Productions before the May 2005 passing away of Ismail Merchant, Heights is a good deal more lively than the stiff-necked product the duo became known for, but still suffers from a certain bloodlessness. Based on a one-act play and stretched to its limit, the film follows a few New Yorkers through their day as they run about Chelsea and downtown, leading artistic lives and holding some very obvious secrets. Somewhere along the way the viewer is supposed to go "ah!" as the disparate elements come clicking together, but they're more likely to have lost interest at that point, as the light comedy is continually interspersed with a leavening of twentysomething lassitude.

Diana Lee's daughter Isabel (Elizabeth Banks), a photographer always in her mother's shadow, is gearing up to marry handsome yuppie Jonathan (James Marsden) and deciding whether to accept a job offer from a former lover. Meanwhile, a journalist is snooping around and interviewing all the ex-boyfriends of a legendary photographer, and Jonathan just happens to be one of them. In order to get back at her cheatin' husband, Diana flirts relentlessly with young actor Alec (Jesse Bradford), inviting him to a big party she's throwing. Somewhere in the mix, Eric Bogosian pops up, along with Rufus Wainwright, Isabella Rossellini, and some truly remarkable New York location photography. Alas, it's far from enough.

Problems arise with the film's focus on the performance of Banks, a perfectly adorable actress who can't quite bring much of anything to the party. It's one thing to know that Isabel trying to assert herself in the face of such a Shakespearean whirlwind of a mother, and it's another to have to watch it - in short, how could Diana have given birth to such a drip? Marsden does a little better, though as in the X-Men films, he's still letting his chiseled features do most of the acting. The performers dotted along the sidelines are a more enjoyable bunch and bring a welcome sense of play to this slight material. Bradford is especially light on his feet, going toe-to-toe with Close and coming out quite unscathed on the other side. But the fact remains that this is ultimately a meek little slip of a film, hardly worthy of any of the talent at hand.

Heights and lows.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 8th December 2005

Box Office USA: $1.0M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 65 Rotten: 37

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Diana, as Isabel, as Jonathan, as Alec, as Oliver, as Marshall, as Mark, as Liz, as Andrew, as Rabbi Mendel, as Michael

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.