Complete A-Z list

Private Lives of Pippa Lee, The


Stars: Robin Wright Penn, Keanu Reeves, Alan Arkin, Maria Bello, Blake Lively, Mike Binder, Tim Guinee, Winona Ryder, Zoe Kazan, Ryan McDonald, Cornelius West, Shirley Knight, Robin Weigert

Director: Rebecca Miller

Pippa (Wright Penn), a gravely beautiful woman in her late forties, has moved with her much older husband, publisher Herb Lee (Arkin), to a retirement community where, at a welcoming party, she hears herself described as 'giving, caring, beautiful and intelligent - the very icon of an artist's wife'.

But, behind the glacial facade, Pippa is every bit as flaky as her mother (Bello), who drank herself to death under an avalanche of pills. Pippa walks in her sleep and has a scarlet past that includes taking drugs and participating in spanking movies made by her aunt's lesbian flatmate (Julianne Moore in a bewilderingly small part).

Her best friend (a miscast Ryder) at her new home is a neurotic mess. 'It took me ages to get to sleep,' wails Pippa, though you may have no such problems in this rather boring movie whose uninteresting characters never engage our sympathy, including Pippa herself, with Wright Penn too passive and pallid in the role. 'I feel like it's not just the beginning,' she beams at the fadeout, zooming off with equally mixed-up momma's boy Reeves. I felt it was just the end - and none too soon.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Icon. Technicolor.
98 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 05 Jul 2009