Valerie Flake | Chicago Reader

Valerie Flake

Valerie (Susan Traylor) is still reeling from the death of her husband, though her family thinks she ought to be over it by now. Once a painter with an academic position, she's started working in an LA grocery store, where she declines a promotion. After driving her husband's old VW bus to Palm Springs, she meets Tim (Jay Underwood), who's desperate to become more than a one-night stand. This darkly comic, exceptionally moving character study has drama, revelation, and expertly drawn secondary characters, but its power comes from Traylor's fearless, idiosyncratic performance and a deeply expressionist production design that makes nearly every object as evocative as the desert landscape where Valerie tries to paint again. John Putch directed a screenplay by Robert Tilem; with songs by Kathleen Wilhoite.

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