Paradise Road

Inspired by history, writer-director Bruce Beresford's story about European, Australian, and American women who try to flee from Singapore during World War II but wind up as POWs of the Japanese in Sumatra is worthy but rather pedestrian stuff. Frances McDormand gets to show off by playing a German Jew, and Glenn Close, Pauline Collins, Cate Blanchett, Joanna Ter Steege, and Wendy Hughes do creditable jobs of their own. But the inspirational aspects of the tale—which mainly has to do with the determination of Close to form a vocal orchestra at the camp, despite the class divisions between the women—never quite carry the dramatic impact they're supposed to. 114 min.

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