Thirteen Conversations About One Thing: Larry Riley
EW Staff
April 17, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Thirteen Conversations About One Thing

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
102 minutes
Limited Release Date
05/24/02
performer
Alan Arkin, Clea DuVall, Amy Irving, Matthew McConaughey, John Turturro
director
Jill Sprecher
distributor
Sony Pictures Classics
author
Jill Sprecher, Karen Sprecher
genre
Drama

We gave it a C+

For her first feature since 1998’s ”Clockwatchers,” writer-director Jill Sprecher focuses on fate and happiness in the intersecting lives of five New Yorkers. A college professor (Turturro) resolves to change his staid existence. A housewife (Irving) confronts her husband’s infidelity. A lawyer (McConaughey) witnesses his charmed life spinning out of control after an irreversible mishap. A young housekeeper (DuVall) waits expectantly for something extraordinary to happen. And a businessman (Arkin) just can’t seem to get over the fact that his coworker is so damn optimistic. ”I think [mine’s] maybe the most rounded story of the bunch,” says Arkin. ”It just felt like such a Chekhovian character, an obsession over one slightly insane idea that takes over a person’s life completely.”

Shot last December on both sides of the Hudson, ”Conversations” had a tiny budget and a tight schedule. ”It was slightly kamikaze,” says Arkin, who had to shuttle between the movie set and the set of his recently canceled ”100 Centre Street.” ”You don’t have hours and hours to ruminate with the director over long walks [on] how you’re going to play a scene.” Or, for that matter, negotiate a megabucks wage, which he says was ”something in between scale and welfare.” But that’s a whole ‘nother set of conversations.

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