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High Art [Import]

Radha Mitchell , Ally Sheedy , Lisa Cholodenko    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Syd (Radha Mitchell) is an editor at a painfully pretentious art magazine; by chance, she becomes acquainted with lesbian photographer Lucy (Ally Sheedy) and her weirdo German girlfriend (Patricia Clarkson, in a strange Dietrich-like role). Syd becomes captivated with Lucy and her work and, smelling a career move, offers to feature her in the next issue of the magazine. The two become attracted, but their relationship is fraught with perils--Syd loses her rather square boyfriend, Lucy's girlfriend takes a hike, the avaricious management at the magazine pressures Syd, and, most importantly, the pair begins to travel down the road of heroin addiction. Besides the lesbian theme, High Art addresses such subtexts as what an artist will (or won't) be willing to do for recognition, and what price that recognition carries. High Art is a remarkably honest work, painful at times but understated and thoughtful. It does an excellent job of portraying the heroin-induced torpor of Lucy and her bohemian friends as they lie around and become consumed with the stuff. It's a cautionary tale, a sincere love story, a reflection on the nature of art, and a "lesbian film" for which the lesbianism is integral but not part of an overriding agenda. Sheedy is excellent, as is Mitchell in a very expressive role. It's far from being a feel-good movie, but High Art undeniably has some power behind it that will stick with you past the closing credits. --Jerry Renshaw

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
High Art has got to be one of the best films I've seen, at least in a long, long while. I say that because it is so finely paced, so intricate in its rhythms and moods, that it has the quality of real life, or perhaps more aptly, a real dream. Between the music and the color of the sets, and the relaxed, subtle acting which fits right in with both, Cholodenko creates a world apart, and the viewer is drawn in like a lover in an entryway.
High Art tells the story of an aspiring assistant editor at a photography magazine who by chance meets a brilliant photographer (Lucy), who, after much acclaim years earlier, has stopped being active in her art. The editor, Syd, is entranced by Lucy's nonchalant affect, the aura of her apartment, the steady stream of friends coming in and out, and most importantly, her photography. In turn, Lucy is attracted to Syd for her drive, her ambition, and her uncharted youth. Their mutual attraction rocks the drug-filled boat that is Lucy's flat, and a new love, and a resurgence of Lucy's art, is born. Whether they are allowed to thrive is up to Lucy, her long-time lover Greta, and all the other hangers-on.
The characters here don't feel like characters so much as real people who can make mistakes, who can try starting over, but who might have to deal with fate, (not to mention old habits and barely functioning relationships), along the way.
Ally Sheedy's performance here is truly amazing, mainly because it ends up not feeling like a performance at all. She plays each emotion with subtlety and depth and her timing and moods are right on the money, time after time. Rhada Mitchell is right there with her, giving a deeply moving performance as the young woman who sheds light on the shadowed Lucy only to question her reasons for doing so.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The film strives to be an art form in itself June 2 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I guess I've been culturally deprived. I never heard of Ally Sheedy before. I understand she was once part of a brat pack and did very different roles than this, but I have no other frame of reference. Anyway, in this ambitious modern tale, she plays the part of a lesbian photographer who's into drugs. She lives with her heroin-addicted girlfriend and has prematurely given up a promising career. They hang out in their seedy apartment doing drugs with a variety of other people and that seems to be the sum total of their lives. In the apartment below lives a young professional woman, Radha Mitchell, and her boyfriend. When there is a leak from the apartment above, the young woman goes upstairs and meets the photographer and her assorted friends. She works as an assistant editor for a photography magazine and is immediately drawn into the art of the photos as well as an attraction for Ally Sheedy and drugs.
One of the things I liked most about this video is what I thought of as its authenticity. There are several sex scenes that have the feel of real people in bed. If anything, they were so real that they went on a little too long but the reality of attraction, shyness, conversation, and exploration deepened the characterizations of the people involved. Perhaps this is the intention of the screenwriter, the long and lingering views of the relationship. There were also long and lingering views of drug taking and again I felt they were a little too much. The film though seemed to be trying to be an art form in itself and although the two star's performances were excellent, some of the minor characters just didn't quite seem real, such as Ally Sheedy's mother or the druggie girlfriend. The mood of the video is melancholy, the pace slow, the acting uneven. But for what it was, I enjoyed it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
...even if the film is not. Still, it is worth a look if you are interested in the lesbian genre. I found it to be compelling viewing, albeit rather disturbing in parts. Ally Sheedy is quite different from her BRAT PACK days... actually, that's a good thing! Patricia Clarkson as the German lover gets it - i.e., she takes on the Dietrich persona and succeeds. Rahda Mitchell is good, but even I could have played her part! I especially liked seeing Tammy Grimes back on screen. She doesn't disappoint. But her performance is all too fleeting. This movie isn't for everyone, but if you like the cast then do give it a try.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ...a powerhouse of a film... Feb. 4 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I rented High Art not really knowing what to expect from this film. I am so glad I had no preconceived notions about what I was about to see. Ally Sheedy gives the performance of her career as Lucy, a drug addicted, semi-retired photographer who shows no willingness to stop her self destructive behavior. Aided by her equally strung out German lover, wonderfully portrayed by Patricia Clarkson, this is one romantic pairing that personifies loathing and apathy like nothing else on screen.
Radha Mitchell gives a very worthy performance as the youthfully naive Syd, an editorial assistant at a pretentious art magazine who takes on the task of pulling Lucy out of her stupor and back into the high stakes art world she left behind. In the process, she becomes mesmerized with the reclusive photographer and is drawn into Lucy's world of alcohol and cocaine.
Lisa Cholodenko portrays the dark underside of the art world and the elusive nature of human relationships with a wonderful eye for detail. This is definitely not an upbeat film and Cholodenko refuses to glamorize the self destructive behavior that exists throughout. She is, however, able to bring out the best performances in her actors and is thus able to deliver a powerhouse of a film that will stay with you well after it is over.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars very good movie
great acting and a really good story. sad and unexpected ending. very entertaining and recommended as a good movie to watch.
Published 16 months ago by KERRY KING
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillant
A truly excellent film - a tragic story beautifully told. Ally Sheedy has never been better. I was mesmerized by the accuracy by which the world of addiction/drugs and the world... Read more
Published on March 3 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreamy with a reality check
Really good performance from Sheedy and entire cast, and a great story too. Definitely worth viewing for anyone interested in viewing a character sketch of a burned out lesbian... Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Depressing
If you don't get depressed watching people ruin their lives doing drugs then maybe you will like this movie. Ally Sheedy's acting is great but the content left me cold.
Published on Dec 11 2001 by "sunnykissed"
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother....
I had high expectations, I was totally let down.. This is NOT a good movie, it's not even worth renting it.
Published on Nov. 15 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars SEXY!!!!
This was probably the best movie I've seen in a while. Ally Sheedy is sexy and raw through the entire preformance. Read more
Published on Nov. 7 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!
What can I say about this movie? Its a realistic portrayal of a few women trying to deal with the pressures of life. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2001
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Impressed
I'm sorry to give this movie such a low rating, seeing as how many people enjoyed it. I guess a huge problem for me was that I could not get into the characters. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2001 by sylence
5.0 out of 5 stars Its a winner:
Good story line. In fact several story lines in this movie. As good as Ally was, Radha, was super. In fact, I'll now go through, {Amazon }... for her other movies. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2001 by Christina
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
This movie lives up to its every promise. A beautiful story. A tragic romance. And artfully done, to boot. I loved every bit of this film.
Published on Oct. 2 2001 by Carty Consortium Carrie
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