Three very different women. One daring leap of faith. Kyra Sedgwick (Something to Talk About), Parker Posey (Best in Show) and Fairuza Balk (Almost Famous) star in this completely compelling (The Hollywood Reporter) dram... more »a about three women who set out to change their lives. Winner of the 2002 Sundance Festival's Grand Jury Prize, this passionate, poignant and bracingfilm delivers a muscular punch (Screen International)! Delia (Sedgwick) escapes from an abusive husband. Greta (Posey) risks everything on a new career. And Paula (Balk) takes flight after a tragic accident. These women must overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles that confinethem. But are they really on their way to new livesor are they just making new versions of old mistakes?« less
"Based on Rebecca Miller's book by the same name, this movie holds up pretty well, and is even directed by the author. It is broken into three parts: Paula, Greta, and Delia. I noticed that in the book, there was one more woman, she was both an artist and an adultress. I'm assuming it was taken out because it seemed similar to Greta's story. Delia, was played by Kyra Sedgwick--a tough wife and mother who has to leave her husband because he beats her. She picks up her family, goes to live with a childhood acquaintance, and tries to lead a normal life.Greta, who was played by the amazing Parker Posey, is an editor who gets a chance to work on a book by an up and coming author. It seems that she has a problem with fidelity. She has a sweet husband that she doesn't deserve and daddy issues. I think that this was, by far, the best story, and probably the most complete.Last is Paula, played by Fairuza Balk. She comes close to losing her life, so she takes a chance and picks up a hitchhiker while on the way to visit her mother, who she hasn't seen in two years. I really liked this movie, but I think that the acting and the filming [pulled] me in more than the stories themselves. It was sort of like reading a book: there was a male narrator throughout, and there were still photos all through the movie. The still photos reminded me a little bit of "Run, Lola, Run," but they were in slow motion. I found that method of filming very different and interesting. That and the narrator gave you different insights into the film. I found the stories a little lacking sometimes only at the end, because, as I mentioned before, they felt a little unfinished. I know that not all movies or stories have to finish completely, and you don't always have to know "what happens" at the end. Certain movies, like this one, need a kind of finality in order for you to feel satisfied. I recommend it, and think it did deserve to win an award at Sundance."
A Movie That Provokes Thought
ZVON | 05/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is the story of three woman, told in separate segments. Each of the characters has to some extent engaged in self-delusion as to who they really are as persons and each one finds herself in the midst of a major life crisis. As each character deals with their situation, they begin to find out who they really are as persons and to find a possible path to self liberation, happiness and fulfillment in their lives.
Delia(Kyra Sedgwick), is an abused wife and mother, who finds personal liberation by finding the courage to finally leave her abusive husband, and then rediscovers her personal dignity and power through her sexuality.
Greta(Parker Posey), is a wife and daughter, who has lost touch with herself, first by being caught in the middle in a struggle between her powerful, ambitious father and her weaker, more fragile mother for her love and affection, then later in an act of rebellion against her father, by ending up in a loving but passionless marriage in which she has suppressed all her own personal ambitions. An opportunity for success rekindles in her all her own passions and ambition, as she struggles to finally break free from the influence of her parents, to come to terms with her husband and marriage and to be who she really is as a person.
Paula(Fairuza Balk) is a young woman, who finds herself pregnant and who after a terrible accident, in a state of shock starts out on a journey to try and escape and make sense of what is happening to her. An encounter with an abused runaway, helps her refocus on her own plight and discover her own ability to care about others besides her self.
All the acting in the film is excellent, but Parker Posey as Greta really stands out. This is the first film that makes use of Parker's ability as an actress to convey emotion and internal conflict, without dialog, simply by the expression on her beautiful face, and it is absolutely stunning to watch. She turns Greta, who could have been very unsympathetic, into a character that one can care about.
The film looks and sounds beautiful on DVD. The DVD extras include a nice commentary by Rebecca Miller, and a wonderful conversation with Parker, Fairuza, Kyra and Rebecca about the characters and the making of the movie.
This beautifully written, beautifully acted movie is very intelligent and very complex. One that makes the viewer think deeply. Which in an age of almost total shallowness in the majority of films (all flash, no thought!), a movie that stimulates thought is a true breath of fresh air.
There are no tight, neatly wrapped up endings in this movie, you have no way of knowing if the characters have made the right choices in their lives. This makes it tough for audiences and critics to embrace this movie, but if you do look deeply at it, and think about it, you will come to appreciate and love it."
Three women fighting against the tide
Ken Jensen | Kingston, NY | 04/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"They made one of the vignettes right down the road from me and I never knew it! The story with Kyra was made in Rosendale, NY, about ten minutes from me. Who knew? That's the little gifts you get when you're anal about reading the end credits. Celebration done. Review time. One very erotic moment with Parker Posey having some "me" time and several quasi erotic moments with Kyra Sedgewick having some "us" times. Fairuza was great in her perma-goth role and had a really touching event to deal with. I'm a fan of all three women so this was a big win for me. The drama was rich across the board. I felt Kyra's despair, Posie's anxious discontent, and Fairuza being Fairuza. Three women up against it and coming out on top, more or less. If you're a fan of drama and the struggle of life, then don't hesitate to add this one to your collection."
Three solid tales of women in transit
Lleu Christopher | Hudson Valley, NY | 08/14/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Personal Velocity, written and directed by Rebecca Miller (and based on her book) tells three stories of women at crossroads in their lives. A film that is divided into separate stories must overcome certain challenges. Short stories, if they are good, can still leave the reader a little unsatisfied. This may be even more true of short films, as even a two hour movie tends to have less depth than a book. It is also common for stories to be of unequal quality. Personal Velocity, however, succeeds in creating three engaging half hours with some powerful performances. I found all three equally entertaining. The first character we meet is Delia (Kyra Sedgwick), a woman fleeing from an abusive husband with her three young children. While this is a familiar, movie-of-the-week situation, Sedgwick is completely believable as the hurt, angry and uncertain Delia as she attempts to make a new start. Parker Posey, a distinguished veteran of many independent films is the star of the second tale. She is Greta, an editor who unexpectedly finds success working with a famous novelist (who makes a pass at her). Greta is married to a man who is nice, intelligent but lacking in ambition and she finds herself wondering if he will fit in with her new future. There is a great contrast between the first two episodes. The first is set in the rural working class of upstate New York, the second among Manhattan's literary chic. The third tale changes pace once again. Paula (Fairuza Balk) is a woman who has just been traumatized by a tragic accident. Driving aimlessly, she picks up a young hitchhiker who turns out to be another victim of a violent event. Paula drives with the boy to her mother's house, which does not turn out to be much of a refuge. Both the first and last segment deal with rather depressing circumstances, but both leave us with the sense that the women have left the worst behind them and are ready to begin a new and better life; the same is true of the second story, though its overall tone is more upbeat. Personal Velocity is about just that; characters who overcome the unpredictable challenges of their surroundings by the force of their own wills. The film was shot digitally, which works well with its focused, microcosmic perspective."
Three Interesting Cinematic Short Stories.
Joel Munyon | Joliet, Illinois - the poohole of America. | 07/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In Personal Velocity, we encounter three women: Delia, Greta, and Paula. Delia is a middle-of-the-pack woman who's recently left her abusive husband, relocated far from his violent subjugation, and found work as a waitress at a restaurant owned by a man who's seedy son eyes her over like another meal. Greta is a metropolitan wife who, despite living the life any woman would fancy, is finding herself discontented and on the verge of leaving her loving husband. Paula, who is featured in the third story, picks up a young male hitchhiker on a rainy day with good intentions but finds that the chance encounter was much more than a random occurrence, and that the divine might be behind the entire event.
This film is highly entertaining, and what's more, it gives us just enough to be satisfied without overrunning its plot into the ground. Right about the time we're ready to be done with one of the stories, a new tale flashes upon the screen and we're once again engaged in a new little ditty.
Final verdict: a very entertaining film about the lives of three women that while I cannot recommend to everyone, I do recommend to the independent film crowd out there who prefers character-driven stories with solid acting and strong plotlines."