A strange movie, indeed, yet, compellingly watchable.
When naive Harvard hopeful Harper meets beguiling photographer Connie at her sister’s wedding, she’s intrigued, despite their considerable age difference. The two become friends. Connie proposes mentoring Harper in the arts. Harper is enticed, but she has no idea what she would “study.” With his help, she decides on photography and their relationship begins. Her Harvard Law-educated parents and sister expect she will follow in their footsteps. Connie senses she doesn’t want that and urges her to find her passion. The odd coupling of Harper’s awkwardness juxtaposed with Connie’s manipulative, charming belief in her is interesting; the ending bothers me.
(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)
Connie’s thing is to find a young woman (they seem to get younger and younger) to mentor in the arts. It’s typical for him to ask for a five-year commitment and he works with one young woman at a time. He grooms them in their chosen art. He helps them believe in themselves and become accomplished, yet in his own life, he’s a failure—a renowned artist who can no longer produce. I just didn’t buy it. This supposed great man, gifted photographer and brilliant mentor getting by hand-to-mouth and manipulating his protégées to work and sustain him while he still doesn’t produce! When protégées break free, it’s usually acrimonious, but years later, they remain full of love for and indebted to him. When Connie gets sick, they hold a protégée reunion, which made me want to vomit. The acting is good up to that point, especially ESPECIALLY from Jean Smart, as Deborah Sloane, Harper’s mom. When she goes head-to-head with Connie, I wanted to clap because she sees through his seduction. Overall, not sure…highly recommended for the acting; cannot recommend the ridiculously cheesy ending.
Writer/Director: Audrey Wells
Run time: 104 minutes