Projections - Movie Reviews

The Invisible Circus

The Invisible Circus

This new, intermittently probing film is a variation on the coming of age film that often highlights a teen's understanding of him or herself.  Based on recent movies like Almost Famous and the hardly seen Waking The Dead, Adam Brooks' camouflaged title, alluding to a European fun house, could be perceived as a cross between both movies which never found their audience.

Here is a more visible Hollywood star who isn't afraid to take on independent projects in Cameron Diaz who made a strong impression as an unkempt, but rejuvenated pet store worker in Being John Malkovich.  In this case, though, she isn't the central character but the most alluring in her portrayal of a young woman stirred on by radical undercurrents in the late 60's, only to be found dead in a crumpled state at the foot of steep hills in Cabo Espichel, Portugal.

Brazillian actress Jordana Brewster is Phoebe, the younger sister of Faith, and she takes it upon herself to leave the San Francisco area and go to another continent, not for traveling and cultural appreciation, but to find out what happened to her sister.  As the slender, petite Phoebe with a darker complexion than Diaz, Brewster shows some promise as a quietly determined college age woman who feels out of place in America.  Ultimately though, her inexperience shows a bit in a more thinly etched character than Diaz's Faith who brings the viewer into the feel of her new Patty Hearst persona, sensing the need to fight oppressive governments and large conglomerates who backed some of the warmongers.

Phoebe's trip abroad ironically has her in an intimate relationship with Faith's old boyfriend, Wolf, a lover boy, done with some charm and ambiguity by Christopher Eccleston (Jude).

Its revelations notwithstanding, The Invisible Circus doesn't have an urgent presence as Phoebe feels the need to leave her more liberal minded mother, acted with concern by Blythe Danner.

With his adaptation of Jennifer Egan's novel, Brooks works fairly well with his editors to advance the picturesque tale without any prolonged lulls.  The Invisible Circus isn't that involving of a study of the generation gap as it attempts to pacify the tensions of the past and the less exciting present of the early disco era.  Though many will enjoy the tour of Europe that Brooks provides with the aid of inviting camera work, Spain is omitted and it was unnecessary to show Diaz as a 12 year old who had a better relationship with her father than her mother.

The Invisible Circus

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