Steam

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Like that perpetually burning home in Synecdoche, New York, the living room of this ensemble picture’s widow, Doris (Dee), is full of hazy air. It’s not smoke, however, but steam, leaking from the sauna where Doris, soccer mom Laurie (Sheedy) and nascent lesbian Elizabeth (Siegel) take breaks from their separate story lines to collectively sweat out platitudes. As a cohesive device, the bathhouse is clunky but serviceable, though the supporting characters—beefcake coach, annoying Bible bashers—act as if they’re made of cardboard. If these one-dimensional stereotypes were to hit the steam room, they’d go quite limp.
—Anna King

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