The Amati Girls | Chicago Reader

The Amati Girls

“But that's what really happened,” a common rationalization for ungainly drama, would explain much of this story: the characters seem both reduced and idealized, and the plot has turns a dispassionate dramatist would avoid. After losing her husband, a Philadelphia grandmother (Cloris Leachman) becomes obsessed with the prospect of her own death and manages to persuade at least one of her four daughters (Mercedes Ruehl) to help her with the preparations. The daughter has more pressing problems, though it's debatable which is worse—her domineering husband (Paul Sorvino) or her two judgmental sisters (Sean Young and Dinah Manoff). Another sister's role in the scheme is to be a burden that's a blessing in disguise; through forced exposition we're made to understand that her intellectual and emotional development was thwarted by a fall the mother took while pregnant, though her family's chronic patronizing seems a more likely explanation for any incapacity. Written and directed by Anne DeSalvo; with Lily Knight. 91 min.

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