This excellent ensemble drama by writer-director Rodrigo Garcia (Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her) has the elliptical magic of a short-story collection: each of its nine vignettes, named for a female protagonist, transpires in a single, uninterrupted take, but the scenes are so dramatically cogent the characters' lives seem to stretch far beyond the concluding blackouts. The stories intersect somewhat, but Garcia wisely allows each scene to find its own center of gravity. Fluid Steadicam work keeps this actorly enterprise in motion, showcasing fine performances from Elpidia Carrillo, Robin Wright Penn, Holly Hunter, Amy Brenneman, Sissy Spacek, Kathy Baker, Glenn Close, and Dakota Fanning. R, 115 min.

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