Alice King
September 15, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Map of the World

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jane Hamilton
publisher
Doubleday
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

Adored by critics and all but ignored in theaters, A Map of the World, based on the novel by Oprah favorite Jane Hamilton, offers a rare treat: a Hollywood ”woman’s picture” that’s not a manipulative tearjerker. Sigourney Weaver is remote but likable as Alice, a nonconformist farm wife/school nurse whose messy but manageable life shatters after her best friend’s child accidentally drowns while in her care.

During the tragedy’s aftermath, including a harrowing trial on molestation charges brought by a student, incarceration, and a tentative rapprochement with her grieving friend (a nicely contained Julianne Moore), Alice’s unwavering sense of personal accountability makes for a complex, often frustrating character — and for a refreshingly adult movie. A-

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