Writer: Craig Lucas (Screenplay)
Patricia Clarkson as Elaine Tishop
Campbell Scott as Jeffrey Tishop
Peter Saarsgard as Robert Sandrich.
The path on this movie takes you straight to a three people relationship; in between a Hollywood Executive Producer, living his sexual tendencies in the closet (Jeffrey Tishop), his wife who is a retired screenwriter (Elaine Tishop) and a screenplay writer (Robert Sandrich) who has recently lost his lover to AIDS,and is still trying to cope with the loss. This triangular affair is setup in the Mid 90's internet revolution; when chat rooms once were the main feature for human interaction on the web; and showcases how people used to then, get extremely confident with strangers.
Jeffrey as a Producer, tries to obtain the rights for the screenplay "The Dying Gaul" (Robert's Screenplay); at the same time, he pushes Robert to sustain on a sexual relationship with him regardless of his marriage to Elaine. Robert concedes in part because of loneliness, in part because of the need of getting his script sold. Once Jeffrey obtains the script; he involves Elaine in the process by letting her read the script; who being a writer herself, feels compelled to engage in a friendly relationship with Robert, his persona intrigues her, which along the course of the movie makes you wonder if she suspects anything from the beginning.
Her curiosity takes her to follow Robert to the infamous chat where he becomes an open book; (particularly for me, this is the part where the scripts goes a little bit weak; Elaine's curiosity is truthful to the female nature; however the lack of suspicion on Robert's part on what Elaine's is up to is what I found unsustainable). After this, the story takes turns and moves along quickly with a buildup for an ending of catastrophic consequences. When it was finished, the only thing stuck in my mind was; Jeffrey warns you at the beginning, that movies that keep you wondering when you leave the Theater are worthwhile, in all honesty this one did. Even tough I have read some reviews about some people who considered that this ending constituted a badly made movie; I disagree.
Technically, this movie is beautifully crafted, it achieves a wonderful portraying of the golden/orange light you can encounter in the desert; by it, you are reminded over and over again that the film was shot in Southern California. Specially in all the indoors frames, where this golden glow is always shining onto a wall; or giving a dim light to a bathroom; I particularly enjoyed this part of the movie a lot. The Tishop's house to me, became the fourth main character of the film; independently that one approve or disapprove its architecture, it becomes the container and main filter of the ambiance in the movie; It adds elegance and serenity to the film, specially in its relationship with Elaine; who is its main inhabitant. Elaine's demeanor amidst her circumstances, always maintains those same behavioral features throughout the film, serenity and elegance.
My personal rating on the film 4 out of 5 stars.