A quiet gem of a movie. May 27, 2010
The film begins dramatically when the flawed hero, Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin Phoenix) jumps off a bridge in a suicide attempt, changing his mind in seconds. It is soon apparent that he has had some sort of emotional trauma in his life. Gradually the story unfolds to include Sandra Cohen (Vinessa Shaw) who is crazy about him, and then Michelle Rausch (Gwyneth Paltrow). Leonard is beautifully played by Joaquin Phoenix (he mumbles a bit), and you will begin to care about him and suffer along with his mother, Ruth (Isabella Rossellini, always a lovely performer).
It's quite apparent that Leonard is on medication and needs to be taken care of somewhat, as Sandra yearns to do, and as he, himself yearns to do for Michelle, a mixed-up girl with a married man for a boyfriend.
The film is really a quiet little work of art as we are taken along with Leonard's struggle to know his true feelings. Each scene is relevant, and the whole movie slides effortlessly and beautifully towards its ending. The acting of the main characters is excellent and true and the whole is outside the class of most movies.