Olivia is an artist, but recurring dreams pull her toward the daughter she was forced to give up as a young girl, bringing urgency to her work. Natalia has just commanded her first magazine cover as a photojournalist, but ... more »an aching to know what happened to the subject of her cover leads her on a new direction in life. Catherine, despite being an accomplished cellist, is consumed with lingering emotional pain. She is wavering unsteadily as she disappears from her family, exacting revenge on the source of her anxiety. As the three women each are visited by the same vision of a young girl, they become inspired to pursue their dreams with a renewed spirit of hope and freedom.« less
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"BETWEEN FRIENDS is a tough story told with unrelieved intensity, acted with underplayed angst, and directed with quiet strength by Eduardo Ponti. The "Strangers" are three unrelated women, each of whom has a burden that grows until it must be lifted. Mira Sorvino is a media photographer, daughter of Klaus Maria Brandauer (who has multiple awards for his own news photography, who has just had one of her images appear on TIME magazine - an image of a little girl from Angola who we gradually learn died in the fire Mira was photographing. She is haunted by the fact that the time she spent photographing the child could have been used to save the child's life. Deborah Unger is a concert cellist whose wife-abusing father (Malcolm McDowell) is released from prison despite her conviction that he should die for his cruelty, forcing her to leave her own family in the attempt to end her father's existence. Sophia Loren is a haggard housewife who has devoted her sad life to caring for her wheelchair-bound past athlete husband (Pete Postlethwaite) until she sees her illegitimate daughter she was forced to abandon becoming the sculptor artist she herself always wanted to be. Each of these women have visions of the same small girl at moments when they are forced to confront their pain and each finds a way back to salvation through 'living out a dream'.Some may find the story saccharine, but the actors deliver these sad folk in such an honest way that together they manage to capture our hearts. It is a true pleasure to see Sophia Loren act again and even the makeup she dons for her dowdy role cannot hide the fact that she remains one of the most beautiful women the screen has known - and one of the best actresses. All cast members are superb. Just be aware of the fact that this is a bleak story that requires much from the viewer. The rewards are worth it."
"Three stories leaded by women. Three solvent actresses will make the best she can to solve her ethical and problems. Three different occupations: the devoted wife and her invalid husband, the winner photographer of the year and a cellist who faces a brutal drama familiar will fight against her fears, disappointments and disillusions with conviction, honesty following her respective bliss.
It's remarkable to underline the smart device of the phantom girl who appears in dramatic moments was used previously by Kieslowski in his masterwork: Decalogue. Another important issue: the attack to the old man: Malcom Mc Dowell works out a incisive destiny irony due precisely Mac Dowell thirty three years before in the Clockwork Orange plays a similar role but from the other side of the street when he makes the same against an indigent in the park with his fellow friends.
The presence of Klaus Maria Bandauer and Gerard Depardieu add this artwork film another quality seal . Mira Sorvino makes a convincing role as the winner who suddenly realizes the slender difference between duty and ethic. Loren displays all her experience in a devastating revelation
Touching direction. A mature film! "
Sophia Loren in "Between Strangers"
Michael Ryan | Denver, Colorado | 10/05/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I found this to be a very experimental and unusual concept for a drama. It's always a visual treat to see a fine performance from Sophia Loren. Her dramatic range has expanded in her later years, lending pathos to a film which features frankly depressing subject matter. While the three protagonists escape their circumstantial and unfulfilled lives rooted in unhappy relationships with their fathers or spouses, that escape doesn't occur until the very very end of the drama, painting the experience in very gloomy colors. The concept of the three parallel lives is an interesting one and I wondered throughout if the director, Edoardo Ponti might be the now adult son of Sophia Loren. I'm sure he's some relationship to Carlo Ponti. I enjoyed Between Strangers, but it wasn't thrilling."
Allison Tyler | Annapolis, MD | 05/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Between Strangers" was an incredibly moving film, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to see it. Some people may not enjoy it because there is not an obviously to it, no real action. However, the stories of the three women that unfold are sad and dramatic and very touching. All the actors are incredible, from Sofia Loren down to Wendy Crewson."
Cosmoetica | New York, USA | 09/08/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Between Strangers is the sort of film that never gets made in America- not in Hollywood big budget films nor in independent films, because it is a film that takes its own sweet time in conveying its ideas to the viewer. That's not to say that it's a great film, nor even a pretty good one, but watching this 2003 Canadian-Italian film on DVD, shot in Toronto, gives a viewer an insight into how other people enjoy the same basic forms of art. This film follows the lives of three different women, each of whom has issues surrounding a trauma involving a little girl, and their own troubles relating to the men in their lives. That the film makes heavy-handed usage of a little girl (Sydney Pearson) that appears to each of them once, as a symbol, is a flaw, since there was no need for symbolism in an otherwise realistic film. The cast is loaded with international film heavyweights, not the least of whom is Sophia Loren, whose son Edoardo Ponti (whose father is Carlo Ponti), in his first time at a film's helm, wrote and directed this film. She plays Olivia, a woman who works in a Toronto supermarket, and years earlier married an ex-athlete, now wheelchair bound invalid, John, played by Pete Postlethwaite, a man whose rage at the world is directed like a laser at his masochistic wife. Her secret is that she had a daughter out of wedlock, as a teenager, and was forced to give her up for adoption by her father. Now, the daughter (Wendy Crewson) is a famed sculptress, whose fame seems to coincide with Olivia's own rediscovery of her drawing talent, unused since her pregnancy, of works of art eerily similar to her daughter's, and encouraged by Max (Gerald Depardieu), her gardener friend at a local park. The second woman lead is Natalia Bauer, a photojournalist played by Mira Sorvino, whose photos from the war in Angola have landed her a cover of Time magazine, much to the delight of her father, Alexander (Klaus Maria Brandauer), himself a legendary photojournalist, who both encourages and discourages her passive-aggressively. Yet, she is guilt-ridden by the girl in her photo, because she could have saved the child's life, rather than gotten the photo. The third woman is Catherine (Debra Unger), a famed cellist who is stalking her ex-convict father, Alan Baxter (Malcolm McDowell), after he is released from prison after twenty-two years. She blames him for her mother's death, and this crisis has made her leave her marriage and daughter, who leaves plaintive messages on her answering machine. That's the set up. Little overtly occurs in the film.... Sophia Loren gives a magnificent performance in what is reputedly the hundredth film of her career. Those who have chided her as building a career on her sexuality have never seen this woman's eyes. She is one of those rarities who acts with every square inch of her body. Postlethwaite, as her husband, is also very good, and it should not surprise that the best story in the film is the one the filmmaker accorded his mother. Yet, I felt, to a degree, as if I were watching a slightly better than average telefilm from the 1970s, at times, but one that never quite gels into something first rate nor substantial. This is the screenplay's fault, and thus the burden lies with Ponti. It is one of those rare works of art that doesn't terribly move you, but you are better for having seen it, even though it will not haunt you. If that seems like a very mixed reaction, then I have succeeded in recapitulating my experience in watching it, and- for reasons that elude me, and despite all its flaws, I think you should watch it, too. "