Jeff Lipsky -- who, some years ago, gave us the exquisitely-attuned-to-characterization-and-behavior drama Flannel Pajamas -- is back this summer with a new envelope-pushing film called MAD WOMEN. The women in question are a mother-daughter pair brought to fine life by a combination of acting chops and Lipsky's hallmark ability to cast with an eye for both oddity and truth. The result is a movie that bears all of this writer/director's best abilities, along with some of his limitations, as well.
Christina Starbuck, above), is a former jailbird now running for mayor of one of those "ideal" little towns that used to be found around the USA.
Reed Birney, above) connects the two women and has his own back story -- which we get, as with all the stories, mostly via exposition (Lipsky is not fan of the show-don't-tell school of film-making). While each of these three character's back stories are fascinating and uber-quirky, none get the depth we need to truly understand or empathize.
Eli Percy, above). It's not, however, because, like so much else in this movie, it simply sits there: announced but unexplored.
Sharon Van Ivan -- of whom we know the least, save for a single important hypocrisy.) Yet the route the filmmaker takes doesn't pay off much, due to our hearing about all the "big and important stuff" via exposition, while leaving out so much else that might pull us into the lives of these people. That said, Lipsky does manage a quietly subversive denouement, bringing together a few of the themes he's announced previously.
Village East Cinema in New York City, on July 17 at the Cinema Arts Center in Huntington, NY, and at the Sundance Cinemas in Los Angeles on July 24th, followed by a limited national release in August.