Well-respected character actor Tim Blake Nelson wrote and directed this indie ensemble drama, and it bears all the earmarks of an actor's film: he's attracted a stellar cast of serious-minded players, but they fight a losing battle against the characters' overwritten dialogue and unlikely behavior. Sam Waterston, playing a good-hearted philosophy professor, fares the best, primarily because his long tenure on Law & Order has so sharpened his skill at delivering pedantic, moralizing speeches. This is one of those movies whose seemingly unrelated plotlines all merge at the end, though the character connections feel more like a parlor trick than any sort of thematic revelation. With Nelson, Kristen Stewart, Gretchen Mol, Michael K. Williams, Corey Stoll, and Glenn Close.
By J.R. Jones