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Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her
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  • VERY good...
    These slice-of-life ensemble-cast episodic movies are sometimes hit and miss, but this one was pretty solid all the way through. The unspoken common theme is, as the ironic title suggests, the hidden interior world of women, behind their deceptively "ordinary" day-to-day facades.

    Luckily this film does not pretend to offer any great sweeping bromides, it just takes us deep into the inner lives of the five women featured here, all played magnificently.

    This is a film that stays with you and invites repeated viewings, precisely because it does not provide neat, easy answers but rather respects the mystery and impenetrability of each individual's experience. ...more info
  • Excellent film
    This is an unfortunate case of an excellent film missing theaters and going straight to video because it lacks mainstream appeal. The acting is top-notch and the screenwriting grabs you in - completely. You will not be able to turn away until you see the story's resolve. Rarely does a film estabish it's characters so well that you know exactly what the character is thinking, even when they are saying nothing at all. The camera angles, edititing, and lighting enhance the mood of the film so well that you can see into a character's inner thoughts only with a glance. Don't miss this one....more info
  • Beautiful!
    Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her is a series of vignettes that are all somehow connected. Basically the equivalent of a really good short story collection! Each story is about 20 or so minutes long and plays out almost to a conclusion but then skips to the next story where a new character or two are focused on but characters from the previous stories also appear. I love how this fits together so neatly and creates a whole world. So after all the characters have been introduced and their stories have begun it all comes full circle at the end and most (but not all) come to a conclusion of sorts.

    Of the 5 vignettes, I had two favorites, Someone For Rose and Love Waits For Kathy. Someone For Rose is so sweet, I think I squealed when I was watching it. It's the story of shy Kathy, the mother of a teenage son. One day a man moves in across the street and she finds herself really drawn to him but doesn't really know how to act around him. I don't want to say anymore than that. In Love Waits For Kathy, Kathy is the older sister of Carol, who is blind. They live together and you can sort of tell that Kathy has put her sister's happiness in front of her own. While Carol goes out on dates Kathy, who is a detective, works on the case of a suicide of someone she once knew.

    So I got this one because I saw something about it somewhere, no idea what and I love star studded power casts. It blew me away! I guess I shouldn't be surprised because of who is in this movie but I still was. This came out in 2000 so maybe it was before I paid a ton of attention to movies because I had never heard of it until recently! I'm so glad I found it!...more info
  • great film making
    Caught this film by accident on cable and was totally mesmerised. The entire cast was magnificent, I can't even pinpoint one performance because they were all so great. I'm thankful for cable and videotapes that allow us to see films like this that we otherwise might not see in the theatres....more info
  • Good cast, but lack on plot.
    Great Actresses are hard to come by.. And This movie have more then most.. I wouldn't say this is a great movie.. if you like the female casts.. But i wouldn't say that.. The plot lacked something.. i couldn't quite figure out what.. Maybe the female casts distracted me a bit.....more info
  • great flick
    I rented this not knowing I had seen the last half one late night probably on IFC. Wow now I get all the connections. Really good flick...more info
  • Smart Film That Does Not Patronize Audience
    The absence of Hollywood-style glitz, cheesy one-liners, and fluffy storylines contributes to this movie's excellence. Another important component of this film is, of course, the thoughful and honest performance given by each of these talented actresses. They key to this film is its honesty. Many women will be able to relate in some way to at least one of the characters-- unlike Hollywood-style movies in which many of the female characters are shallow, one-dimensional, and glammed-up to the nth degree. This movie does a good job of depicting the lives, emotions, and struggles of women as they really are....more info
  • Great cast, good story
    This is a movie for those who enjoy independent film--- not a sweet, chick flick filled with fake moments of bonding. This is a movie that really examines it's characters and while there are humorous moments, mostly it is very sad, but still delivers hope. Holly Hunter (in an emmy nominated role), and Cameron Diaz are terrific--- but the films strongest performance comes from Calista Flockhart. She is heartbreaking, so real, so good-- worthy of an Emmy nomination herself. This is one great actress....more info
  • Human Stories
    I was so looking fordward to watch this movie. It never came out in Spain, so when I was in The US, i rented it (cause it wasn't on sale yet), and it fullfilled my great expecations about it. I am a big fan of Calista Flockhart, and her work in this movie is amazing. Cameron Diaz plays a blind woman and her acting skills are wonderful. Glen Close, Holly Hunter and Valeria Golino are doing a great job aswell. So I don't understand why this movie wasn't a success. It's a combination of excellent & talented actresses developing human & touching women stories. I recommend you to watch it. It's excelent....more info
  • Choppy
    I loved the cast, some of the acting was rough. The story line was choppy and didn't flow well or back to itself. If you like a collection of short stories without a beginning, middle or end; you'll enjoy this....more info
  • One of the best ones this year
    Real ... Relaxing ... Life like ... This is how I describe this film. Doesn't surprise me that this movie didn't make much money at the box office. It's too real for the general population which is used to see movies like "The Fast and the Furious"....more info
  • Wonderfully subtle
    Great film. The director did a marvelous job with this one. It's a quiet film that requires a lot from the viewer. He gave a hint of that with the title. This is really a film where you need to look closely at the actreses. Watch every move. There's so much going on underneath the surface and that's what this is about.

    The scene where the Glenn close character has her fortune read is a great example. If you watch her face as she listens there's an entire string of different thoughts that just barely betray themselves on the surface. Anger, denial, defensiveness, acceptance, sorrow... All these things appear and disappear without Close having ever said a word. Very well done.

    Not, of course, for viewers with short attention spans, or those who've grown up on average Hollywood fare. This is, in many ways, a Latin American movie. It feels more at home beside Amores Perros or Twenty-One Grams than it does beside most movies from American directors. This is a very good thing. Garcia works his actors/actresses hard, with stunning results. Highly recommended....more info
  • Great movie!
    I really, really enjoyed this movie. There is an aspect of at least one of the characters that anyone can relate to. It carries the viewer through times of desperation, emotional turmoil, coming to terms of the truth, and ones of hilarity due to ourselves going through similar experiences. If anything, RENT it, just to see Goodnight Lilly, Goodnight Christine (it's heartbreaking). :*(...more info
  • not just a chick flick!
    When i saw the all female cast and heard the Lilith fair soundtrack in the opening credits, i grimaced and thought - "oh no - a "chick flick" - boy, was i wrong. I was deeply touched by almost every individual story, they seemed to be both personal and univeral at the same time - particularly the one with Holly Hunter, as a single, proffesional woman involved in an unfullfilling relationship - it seemed to encapsulate so many issues faced by women (and men)in this day and age. This movie is similar to Magnolia - with its vignette style format and sad, quiet backdrop of Los Angeles - except its much better, avoid Magnolia at all costs - you will Rue the lost hours of your life! - Things you can tell by just looking at her is a far superior movie and will linger with you a long time....more info
  • I wonder what time dwarves go to bed?
    Way better than I expected

    When my wife brought this home, I looked it over and thought I was in for a long night. The emotional troubles of women, the shallow men who flirt and dump, the oppresive this, the glass-ceiling that. Well, did I get a surprise. My male, againg, Christian soul received a bit of a shake.

    This film is indeed about women who've made some bad choices. And are in the process of realizing it. Some do better after this realization, some, apparently, do not. Much like real life. Those wake up calls often get the snooze for many years. We allow ourselves to be fooled because we need the affection, the praise, the prestige, or the glory. And find ourselves feeling used, ignored, or humiliated. But far too often the way we cleanse that soiled feeling is to do the same over again. Ask the domestic violence counselor who's seen the same woman in multiple abusive relationships. She knows better. He knows she knows better. Yet the alarm is turned off repeatedly.

    There are many small jewels in this film. To reveal too much would spoil a carefully crafted tale. But this is a film intelligently at odds with the lifestyle portrayed in most cinema, where "I am the most important person" and "I need to follow my heart" and "I need to be funny and cool and hip and ironic and cynical." These are normal people who have lived mostly normal lives and found themselves somewhere other than where they'd like to be....more info
  • Powerful, Introspective Drama
    A sensitive and incisive episodic drama that examines loneliness and need, emotional vulnerability and the true meaning of character, "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her," written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia, presents a glimpse into the lives of seven women that is not only thoughtful, but filled with some real insights into human nature. Though the stories are independent and unrelated, the film demonstrates how the lives of people can and do overlap, and whether or not they affect one another in any way, there are things these individuals have in common that have to do with relationships or the lack thereof, and is seemingly steeped in pain, despair, indecisiveness and longing. It's a dialogue driven character study that may be the antithesis of a feel-good film, but it's riveting drama that is extremely well presented and acted, and most importantly it is very real and believable and will certainly contain elements to which just about anyone in the audience will be able to relate and identify, because they are so true-to-life.

    What you see in this film may not be entirely pleasant, but it provides some thought-provoking, reflective moments that are in some cases veritably transporting, and many that are bound to hit very close to home for many viewers. Garcia seems to have a firm grasp of the female perspective and sensibility, and presents the stories of these women in a way that allows you to empathize with all of them on a number of different levels. And he wisely offsets the drama by infusing a bit of tasteful humor at just the right moments, bittersweet though it may be; without it, the film would have been just too dark, and as it is, it hovers dangerously close to the cusp of the abyss, as he layers one disconcerting situation upon another with little respite. It may sound like strong stuff, and it is; but it does what a film like this is supposed to do: It makes you "feel" something, consider some things and enables you to possibly come to terms with some emotions that otherwise you may be wont to avoid altogether. In the end, then, it makes for a truly satisfying and fulfilling experience.

    Garcia put together a terrific ensemble cast to tell his story, which resulted in a number of exemplary performances, most notably by Cameron Diaz, who plays Carol, a blind woman who refuses to acquiesce to the constant compromises life offers her. She displays a fortitude that is inspiring and demonstrates that real vision, as well as true beauty, transcends the physical. In her darkness, she sees and understands the world more clearly than many who see perfectly but are blind in other ways, and though in the care of her sister, Kathy (Amy Brenneman), it is she who enables Kathy to finally get a grasp on her own life. It's a wonderful performance by Diaz, who continues to prove that she is so much more than just another pretty face up there on the screen.

    Another memorable performance is turned in by Kathy Baker, as Rose, the single mother of a fifteen-year-old son, Jay (Noah Fleiss), who is a woman of true inner beauty. Rose is a former teacher who now writes children's storybooks, whom Baker instills with qualities that make her endearing and very real, including the capacity to look beyond herself and reach out to others, which in turn makes that necessary connection with the audience and predisposes the emotional involvement that makes her story so poignant and honest. There's a gentleness that Baker brings to this role, and an openness, that makes it one of the best she's ever done.

    Notable performances are given, as well, by Glenn Close, as Dr. Elaine Keener, who has recently arrived at something of a crossroads in her life; Calista Flockhart, as Christine, a fortune teller whose own future with her girlfriend, Lilly (Valeria Golino) is clouded; and Holly Hunter, as Rebecca, a thirty-nine-year-old bank manager coping with the emptiness in her life brought about by, in retrospect, some questionable decisions she's made. It is rare, in fact, to find so many singularly exceptional performances in a motion picture.

    The supporting cast includes Matt Craven (Walter), Gregory Hines (Robert), Miguel Sandoval (Sam), Danny Woodburn (Albert) and Penelope Allen (Nancy). Engrossing drama, delivered with integrity and subtle nuance by Garcia and his impeccable cast, "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her" in an introspective treatise on life and the many aspects of it that are common, but rarely shared because of the fact that so many people live, as Carol says at one point, "Behind closed doors." It's a powerful film that makes a real impact without ever hitting you over the head with the weight of it's collective angst. And it's an important film in that it will make you think and consider-- things that are too often put off or ignored entirely, and often to the detriment of personal happiness; and when the medium of the filmmaker can maybe turn that around, it demonstrates what the magic of the movies is really all about....more info

  • Lush, Real, Significant.
    I am sitting here, almost wordless, wondering
    how to weave together just the right words to
    describe the lusciousness of this film.

    I described it to the woman at the Video store
    and she said, "Sold! I am seeing it now!" after
    I mentioned how real, how truthful and how artistically
    woven together these stories are and how
    skillfully it is crafted.

    The cast is phenomenal - how many times can
    that be said? What especially amazed me was
    the talent in small roles - people like the
    late Gregory Hines.

    Holly Hunter floored me, walking alone down
    a Los Angeles street - so together one moment
    and falling apart the next.

    Amy Brenneman as the sister who has given so
    much for her blind sibling (played amazingly by
    Cameron Diaz) who finally "gets it" after
    an awakening discussion with her pupil.

    Kathy Baker with her teen-aged son - wow.

    ANd more, more, more - the camera angles, the
    metaphor throughout, the connections between
    seemingly unrelated characters just like there
    are undoubtedly connections between YOU and
    seemingly unconnected people in YOUR life as well.

    My single favorite line - Calista Flockhart
    as Christine, the Tarot Card reader - to Glenn
    Close, Dr. Keener, the OB/GYN... "None of this
    is written in stone - it is up to you, too."

    This one is a keeper - a keeper indeed....more info
  • Feels like a Prequel to "Nine Lives"
    "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her" is a movie written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia, who wrote and directed what I think was the 3rd best film of 2005 "Nine Lives." This film features much of the cast of that film. This movie is Garcia's first movie and it's apparent, it definitely has a first movie vibe to it. Unlike, "Nine Lives" which let us eavesdrop on 15 minutes in the life of a woman and never leading us back to that woman; This film gives us vignettes (that are much longer than 15 minutes) and at the end brings us back to see what became of the women. While each vignette is an affecting and smart one, Garcia was able to show more emotion in the 15 minutes than he was in these 30 minute or so ones. Like, "Nine Lives" all of the vignettes are separated into sections. The first one is:
    1. "This is Dr. Keener": We meet a woman named Dr. Keener (Glenn Close) who is taking care of an elderly woman. A fortune teller (Calista Flockhart) arrives at her house and predicts her future.
    2. "Fantasies About Rebecca": Rebecca (Holly Hunter) discovers that she's pregnant; Meanwhile, she has sex with a co-worker (Matt Craven) and chats with a homeless woman.
    3. "Someone for Rose": A children's book writer named Rose (Kathy Baker) watches as a dwarf named Albert (Danny Wood) moves in across the street; as her son Jay makes a shocking revelation.
    4. "Good Night Lilly, Good Night Christine": The most affecting of the vignettes, is the story returning the fortune teller Christine (Flockhart) who watches as her lover Lilly (Valeria Golino) dies.
    5. "Love Waits for Kathy": A detective named Kathy (Amy Brenneman) deals with loneliness, while her blind sister Carol (Cameron Diaz) bonds with a man named Walter (Matt Craven).
    In a nutshell, there's the synopsis. While all the vignettes are affecting, I think the most entertaining one is "Someone for Rose"; While, as I said, the most affecting is "Good Night Lilly, Good Night Christine." Holly Hunter delivers the best performance in the movie, while Glenn Close is completely understated and Cameron Diaz delivers one of her best performances. The biggest problem with the movie, although it has very few flaws, is that some of the vignettes drag on too long, but it's not Garcia's fault...It's his first movie. He does a show an amazing talent for going into a woman's life for a few moments and making something out of it. This is a good film, it's not a great film but it's definitely worth checking out.

    GRADE: B+
    ...more info
  • Remarkable performances.
    A very touching, poignant, honest look at the lives of woman dealing with the truth, love, sex, prejudice, and relationships. The film is filled with wonderful performances most noteably by Calista Flockhart as a gay fortune teller dealing with her dying lover. Valeria Golina is equally effective as the lover. This is by the far the best vignette out of the 6. Cameron Diaz also gives a wonderful performance as a blind woman living with her lonely sister played with sincerity by Amy Brennaman. Each story is very intersting and also has terrific performances from Kathy Baker and Glenn Close. I only hoped that all of these remarkable actressed had some screen time together as a whole, but a minor issue in a very special and heartfelt film....more info