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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

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.