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13 Conversations About One Thing
13 Conversations About One Thing (Soundtrack)

13 Conversations About One Thing Review

Directed By: Jill Sprecher (and co-written with her sister Karen Sprecher).
Starring: Clea DuVall, Amy Irving, Matthew McConaughey, John Turturro, Alan Arkin.

Synopsis: Four sets of characters act out their own Manhattan mini-dramas and yet mysterious threads connect the four separate stories, creating a highly satisfying whole.

Alan Arkin plays a divorced, middle-aged businessman named Gene. Gene is worn-out and cynical. His son is in jail and his company is facing cutbacks. The guys on his staff expect Gene to protect them, until it becomes clear to them that Gene himself isn't always in the senior management loop.

Clea DuVall plays Beatrice, a young woman who works for a high-end cleaning service. Beatrice is earnest and hard-working. She survived a childhood accident and considers every new day a gift from God, but her co-worker thinks she's a pasty.

Matthew McConaughey plays Troy, a handsome young prosecutor who's a rising star in the DA's office. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Troy has never known any way but 'up.' When life throws him a curve, he suddenly realizes that he's never developed any coping mechanisms.

John Turturro plays Walker, a Mathematics professor at Columbia University who believes in discipline, order, and reason. But one day he's mugged, and the feeling of violation completely unnerves him.

These four principals are all searching for happiness - but happiness proves to be as elusive and ephemeral as a rainbow.

Review: 13 Conversations has a great deal in common with films such as Amores Perros, Pulp Fiction, Run Lola Run, and Short Cuts , all of which play with overlapping timelines, and questions of chance, fate, and destiny. When you find yourself "in the wrong place at the wrong time," do you ask yourself: "How did I get here?" Do you wonder what you did wrong, what one thing you might have done differently? If so, this is the film for you.

Each one of the four principals comes to regret a specific moment in time that, once done, cannot be undone. The poignancy of these lost moments is heart-breaking precisely because, in each case, the decision made in that moment is so completely in character.

Unlike the other films I listed above, however, 13 Conversations, is hushed and muted, and most of the violence is implicit. Alex Wurman's melancholy piano-driven soundtrack sets the contemplative mood. The acting is first rate across the board; Arkin's performance as Gene is truly outstanding.

Conclusion: If you prefer straight narrative lines, this film will drive you crazy. But if you believe the world is mostly gray, with rare instances of pure white or black, then I predict that this film will really intrigue you.

This is the Sprecher sisters' second feature film. (The first was Clockwatchers, starring Toni Collette, Lisa Kudrow, and Parker Posey.) The Sprechers obviously have a talent for casting, finding perfect vehicles for their beautifully drawn characters.

Jan's Score: 4.5 out of 5

Copyright© Written By: Jan Lisa Huttner
Jan Lisa Huttner is the creative force behind FILMS FOR TWO: The Online Guide for Busy Couples. Check them out at

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Evil Ash

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