Homage | Chicago Reader

Homage

I haven't seen the play by Mark Medoff that this independent feature is based on, but the five central characters are so well defined that it must be impressive. A young and disturbed mathematician (Frank Whaley) gets hired as a caretaker on a rural estate in New Mexico by a former schoolteacher (Blythe Danner), and discovers to his amazement that her long-estranged daughter (Twin Peaks's Laura Palmer, Sheryl Lee) is a popular TV star he's already obsessed with. When the daughter comes home on an unexpected and extended visit, the obsession grows only more intense as mother and daughter try to iron out their own relationship; smaller but key roles are played by former suitors of the mother (Bruce Davison as a local lawyer) and daughter (Danny Nucci as a local policeman). Although director Ross Kagan Marks gets wonderful performances out of all five actors, he's less certain about where to put his camera, which makes his mise en scene as splintered at times as the flashback structure used by Medoff to adapt his story to the screen—interesting in an eclectic way, though not always successful. But for Danner alone, this movie is well worth seeing, and her coactors aren't far behind.

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