"....this is a granite-colored gem, more beautiful for what it lacks than for what it has. It lacks, for one thing, that amber-colored lens that so many filmmakers use, the one that colors the world in bright jewel tones and lush greens. It lacks Spielberg-esque background music telling you how to feel. It lacks glamour, fairy tales and phoniness. Phoebe goes to Europe to track Faith's footsteps. There is no aerial view of the Eiffel Tower with accordions playing La Vie En Rose. There are no cutesy Europeans plying her with their wares, no breathtaking, overphotographed landmarks. She is alone in the dingy, drab, real colors of the real Europe. She finds out that Faith wasn't what she thought. She finds out that she, Phoebe, is OK after all. Not an atom-splitting moment; just an everyday kind of epiphany, wrenching nonetheless. Diaz is at her best here - she proves that she's a real actress and not just a popular blonde. Pay attention to the ending, if you didn't the first time. It's like a period at the end of a sentence. This film didn't insult my intelligence or my attention span. It was really quite refreshing. And haunting."
A Generation Gap Examined...
Dean Anderson | New York, New York | 05/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I find this film fascinating for its subtext. It begins with a San Francisco family torn apart: A father's untimely death and his eldest daughter's demise in some far off part of Europe during the politically charged 1960s. Left behind are the mother and youngest daughter. When the daughter wants to answer the lingering questions she has about her big sib, she sets out to trace the path that her sister took, and to find out what she could about the events. Of course, she is cautioned every step of the way, first by her mom, then by her sister's long time beau, who very reluctantly and uncomfortably begins to recount the story of their excursion across the continent and their involvement with the "peace movement," and what he knew about his lover's death. The "Generation Gap" I refer here is the elder "Baby Boom" daughter, played by Cameron Diaz, and her "do anything" free spirited ways, and her kid sis, portrayed in a very reserved performance by Jordana Brewster, who demonstrates how a few years can make a big difference in how you get treated. Here, seemingly trapped in her existence, she plays the part of a bird trying to find her way out of the cage she has been locked in for her life, and trying to get some answers from a world that seems intent on "protecting" her.This isn't an action picture. I wouldn't even consider it a road picture, even though it takes place in Amsterdam, Paris and Portugal, beautiful locations all. But it is a psychological drama, about putting people's actions into a context, be it historical or just understandable. If you're born between the late 50s to the mid 70s, this film just might strike an important chord with you.Wonderful performances from Diaz, Brewster, and Christopher Eccleston as the former boyfiend who plays tour guide to both Europe and his ex's final days.Recommended."
A wonderful film
Laura J. Eklund | El Cajon, CA USA | 12/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is 1969. Phoebe(Camilla Belle) is an 11 year old girl growing up with an idealized vision of her 19 year old sister Faith(Cameron Diaz). Faith is the doer, the truth-seeker, the fixer of all the wrongs in the world. Then one day, Phoebe and her mother Gail(Blythe Danner) receive word that Faith is dead. Faith has killed herself. Both Phoebe and Gail are overwhelmed by this news and, although saddened, Gail mourns. Phoebe can't let it go. Phoebe decides to go to Europe and find out what happened.
It is now 1977. Phoebe(Jordana Brewster) is 18 and decides to go to Europe over the objections of her mother to discover the truth. When alive, Faith was inseparable from a man she called "Wolf"(Christopher Eccleston). Though Wolf claimed not to know anything about Faith's last days, Phoebe convinces him to tell her everything. Within days, Wolf realizes that he hadn't let go of the past either and he joins Phoebe on her pilgrimage to Portugal.
In the end, Wolf is able to tell of Faith's decent into drug abuse and his own guilt at not preventing the suicide. Although angry, Phoebe realizes in the end how human and fragile Faith really was.
I liked this movie. I'm old enough to remember the bank robberies of the Red Army and I was 10 in 1969. This story was familiar ground for me. I can still remember young men trying to decide if they should go to Canada or not to avoid the draft.
The story is simple, but probably occurred several times in real life during that period. Camilla Belle was perky, enjoyable and fun to watch as she portrayed the young adoring sister excited by what was happening around her. Jordana Brewster slid easily into the role of the older Phoebe. Blythe Danner was the ever supportive mother, a role she is all too familiar with on American TV, unfortunately. I would have liked to see her with stronger material to work with. Cameron Diaz played the immature anarchist perfectly. Though at times, her performance of a 1960s activist seemed to come off a news reel. Watching her dance on the wall, kind of made me cringe. Of all the characters, it was Christopher Eccleston's Wolf, that made the most growth. When we are introduced to the character at the beginning of the movie, we can see he is a worldly man. He is a patient and kind man filled with anger at the world's injustices. In the end, he realizes the direction he and Faith are headed is wrong and begins to "grow up" deciding he should fight against injustice in his own way. Faith refuses to join him in this and it eventually leads to her death. Eccleston's Wolf is the most real of all the characters.
For most of us, our idealism either dies or we adjust and conquer through other ways. This is what the Wolf character did.
Karla Pena | 05/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This video is very moving and intense. It is the story of a girl who committed suicide in the 1960s, and her now-grown-up sister's attempt to understand what happened. It seamlessly traces and intertwines both sisters' trips through Europe, and shows how the older sister went further and further into rebellion until she reached a point she could not turn back or go on. It shows the older sister's integrity - even though she did not get caught in her crime, and faced only her own guilt, she was unable to live with herself, and saw suicide as the only way out. It shows the boyfriend's love of her, even as he tried to get her to pull back, and his attempt to understand, years later, what had happened. And it shows the sister's and mother's attempts to live with what had happened. It is a very powerful movie. Diaz shines in her role, and Ecclestein, Danner and the other minor characters are also very powerful. Brewster is a little weak - a more experienced actor could have brought a little more depth to her character, and Ecclestein's wig was horrendous.
Those two minor flaws, however, could not dim the beauty or power of this movie."
A touching story
Karla Pena | MIAMI, USA | 06/19/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is a heartwarming story about sisters. When they are young, Faith, (Cameron Diaz) and Pheobe,(Jordana Brewster),have a lot of fun times together as a family. But when their father dies, everything seemed to change. Faith started skipping school, getting into drugs and so on. Soon, when she is 18 her and her boyfriend wolf, (Christopher Eccleston) plan a trip to Europe and try to change the world with politicians. Soon after, Faith is misteriously dead and Pheobe, when she is older, dedicates her time and money to go out and find out whar REALY happened."