Gyllenhaal's third feature (from a script by his wife Naomi Foner) is happily less hackneyed than one might anticipate. The cast are a great help: Debra Winger as Martha, a gauche social and emotional misfit whose naive insistence on telling the truth gets her into trouble with those around her; Barbara Hershey as her attractive aunt Frances, who finds that looking after Martha is taking its toll on her affair with a married politician; Chloe Webb as Martha's friend Birdy, and the ever-excellent David Strathairn as Birdy's lover Getso; and Gabriel Byrne as Mackey, the drunken handyman who's taken on to repair Frances and Martha's home, only to upset the already precarious applecart. Much here may be routine, in the lyrical small-town genre, but now and then a welcome sense of pain, confusion and frustrated desire erupts from the well-honed narrative.
A Dangerous Woman
Cast and crew