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"Passion of Mind"

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Passion of Mind, which was completed almost a year ago, has one of those dreary reality/fantasy plots that tour-de-force-starved movie stars are partial to. Demi Moore, looking for a comeback role, plays a woman with alternate identities. Which one is real? She might be a New York literary agent, childless, tense, or she might really be an earth-mother émigré living in Provence and reviewing books for the Times. One's a dream of hers, one isn't, and at least I can reveal to you that the film finally coughs up an answer. But not before we've been served a full casserole of women's-movie clichés courtesy of Hollywood's reigning women's-movie scribe, Ron Bass (How Stella Got Her Groove Back, What Dreams May Come, Waiting to Exhale, When a Man Loves a Woman). Ibsen must be spinning in his grave over this guy. The film might at least be fun if we were given some clues about which woman was the real McCoy, but the two halves of her life are equally dull, in different styles of dullness, with matching dull performances. Considering how much trouble Hollywood has differentiating the real world from the dream world, it probably should not come as a surprise that this film is such a muddle. Though not so much of a muddle that you fail to notice the fact that the career woman isn't fulfilled in the way that the earth mother is. And the men in her lives are the ones who force her to make a choice -- pretty backward notions for such a supposedly liberated scenario. One of those men, incidentally, played by Stellan Skarsgård, is a novelist who falls in love with Demi notwithstanding her pan of his book in the Times. To my mind, this is hands-down the most fantastical element in the movie.


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