Jane Campion's stirring 1990 follow-up to Sweetie adapts the autobiographical trilogy of New Zealand writer Janet Frame into a 163-minute feature, originally made for New Zealand TV—clearly a labor of love by a masterful talent responding to a soul mate. The poetic empathy, the beautiful offbeat framing and unexpected transitions, and the magnificent handling of actors are all pure Campion. (Her work is especially impressive with the three who play Frame at different ages—Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson, and Kerry Fox; their suggestions of fragility, painful shyness, and passionate inner life effortlessly dovetail into one another.) On the other hand, the form—a miniseries about the formation of a writer—is a lot more conventional and straightforward than that of Sweetie, as are the script by Laura Jones (High Tide) and Stuart Dryburgh's cinematography. Basically composed of short, elliptical scenes, this work's three parts were intended to be seen separately (which theatrical presentation makes impractical). Charting Frame's life through the hell of being different (misdiagnosed as schizophrenic during her teens, she was forced to submit to hundreds of shock treatments) toward some adult fulfillment, Campion makes this a genuinely inspirational story without a breath of sentimentality. No less remarkably for such an intensely visual director, she conveys a writer's sensibility, getting us to share in a life lived in and through words.