Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle
Time Out saysAlan Rudolph's The Moderns celebrated the American away team of the '20s - Hemingway and pals. This companion biopic of the mistress of the bon mot, Manhattanite Dorothy Parker, paints a similar mass portrait of the wits, wags and writers of the home team. All the Rudolph trademarks are here: the improvisatory feel, the overlapping dialogue, the ironic but celebratory tone, the vital performances from leads (Jennifer Jason Leigh as Parker and Broderick as Charles MacArthur, in particular) and cameos. Then there's the delight in design (François Séguin's low-lit speakeasies and hotel rooms), and the roving camera style (Jan Kiesser); the interest in art and artifice, genius and suffering. Rudolph and JJL manage to make this 'brilliant bitch' entirely fascinating, if not completely sympathetic. In perhaps the one scene where she looks radiantly happy, Parker says to MacArthur, 'Oh, Charlie, I'm going to wear my heart on my sleeve like a red wet stain.' She could be speaking for Rudolph. Absolutely superb.