Intimate Relations | Chicago Reader

Intimate Relations

In this quietly shocking 1995 story about a doomed love triangle, a married woman who's sexually estranged from her husband but content with their domestic and financial relationship throws herself at an attractive young man she entices to live with her family—which includes a teenage daughter—by charging absurdly low rent and implying that she'll fill his need for maternal attention. The twisted sex-comedy elements seem empty at first, but this narrative has a truly dark and even surprising aspect, which lies not so much in the plot as in the characters' motives. I ignored the “based on a true story” line in the opening credits because the connection is so often superficial. But I later realized that writer-director Philip Goodhew must have worked backward, trying to understand an incident that occurred in England in 1956 by developing these characters—an intention that gives the drama backbone. Though their fate seems demeaningly inevitable, the characters are far from cartoony; their extreme behavior provokes a response much deeper than simple relief that you don't have their problems.

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