Combustible Celluloid
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With: Tilda Swinton, Amber Tamblyn, Timothy Hutton, Denis O'Hare, Melissa Leo, Jim Gaffigan, Halley Feiffer, Kel O'Neill, Deirdre O'Connell, Neal Huff, John Ellison Conlee, Vincent Piazza, Caitlin Van Zandt, Novella Nelson, Marceline Hugot, Kaiulani Lee
Written by: Hilary Brougher
Directed by: Hilary Brougher
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing material involving teen pregnancy, sexual content and language
Running Time: 92
Date: 01/21/2006

Stephanie Daley (2007)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Mommy Fear

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Tilda Swinton co-produced this intense drama, and stars as pregnant forensic psychologist Lydie Crane. Stephanie Daley (Amber Tamblyn) has been accused of killing her newborn baby during a high school ski trip, and it's Lydie's job to find out what happened. Writer/director Hilary Brougher shoots in HD video with a stark immediacy and with no preaching or melodrama. Brougher shows Stephanie's story in flashback, and Lydie gets equal time in the present day. Stephanie experiences honest little moments of teenage awkwardness and joy before her tragedy, and Lydie deals with her pregnancy fears as well as suspicions that her husband (Timothy Hutton) is having an affair. Despite her documentary style, Brougher manages a few visual ideas, such as cuts on hands, tying the stories together. It's remarkable how close the director gets to these two characters, and how quietly. And both Swinton and Tamblyn are up for this kind of scrutiny; these are two truly impressive performances.

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