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Irene in Time (DVD Review)

14 Mar, 2010 By: Billy Gil

Prebook 3/16/10; Street 4/6/10
Breaking Glass
$24.99 DVD
Rated ‘PG-13’ for thematic elements and some sexual content.
Stars Tanna Frederick, Lanré Idewu, Andrea Marcovicci, Victoria Tennant, Jack Maxwell.

Irene in Time is the latest film from Henry Jaglom, a director known for his idiosyncratic approach that involves staged situations in which actors are invited to improvise, often centered around female issues (his film Eating dealt with women and food, for instance). This time, it’s daddy issues.

Kudos to Jaglom for sticking to his guns — no other director in his or her right mind would direct the way Jaglom does — and for tackling an issue in a focused way that still leaves room for story. And, as far as stories go, this one is pretty good for him, dealing with a preternaturally bubbly woman (awesome Tanna Frederick, Jaglom’s muse) who can’t find a guy who is as great as her deceased father was.

Irene’s friends’ relationships with their fathers run the gamut, and Irene, too, finds that her father may have hidden things from her that greatly impact her life as an adult, albeit one who seems preserved in girlhood.

As with most Jaglom films, Irene in Time is not for everyone and is riddled with flaws, from the schlocky music to some amateurish and over-the-top acting. Like many of his films, it straddles the line between sexism and celebrating women, inspiration and self-indulgence. But it’s a film unlike any I’ve ever seen, and I’ll overlook some of its numerous flaws to give Jaglom credit for allowing Frederick, who plays a similar role to her lead in Jaglom’s last film, the superior Hollywood Dreams, to go full-force in a ballsy performance, and for continuing to make awkward, unclassifiable films in a film world (even indie-wise) that would prefer things to be clear-cut, crowd-pleasing and pristine.   

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