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Nine Lives

By Wendy Ward | Posted 4/12/2006

A woman’s name appears against a colored backdrop at the start of each vignette in Nine Lives, and then the camera’s movement begins. Each episode is shot in one continuous take, threading together a movie in the tradition of those proving that no matter how large California’s population grows its lives remain connected. In the second—the most moving—story, pregnant Diana (the believably intense Robin Wright Penn) runs into her old lover Damian (Jason Isaacs) while grocery shopping. It’s a common occurrence, but who knew it was so incredibly painful to watch? They catch up as Diana rides waves of desire and the awareness of how truly fucked they are for feeling this attraction after so long. Seven lives follow with differing degrees of success, with a few actors overplaying their dozen minutes, but they are the minority. Adian Quinn brings a smooth sense of play to Henry, a man beginning an affair with Ruth (the eternally luminous Sissy Spacek) and Amy Brenneman is wonderfully unlikable as Lorna, the bitch who both divorced a deaf man (William Fichtner) who still loves her and shows up at his second wife’s wake. You know what they say, something about not judging until you walk in my moccasins. Nine Lives asks you only to walk beside.

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