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13 Conversations About One Thing  [DVD]
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In this acclaimed philosophical comedy of manners, a hotshot lawyer (Matthew McConaughey), his career rocketing upwards, loses concentration momentarily and becomes the perpetrator of a hit and run. An insurance claims manager (Alan Arkin) with a troubled family life has a pleasant but irritatingly jovial colleague. A finicky physics lecturer (John Turturro) is having a meticulously timetabled affair as a stock response to a mid-life crisis, something his wife (Amy Irving) discovers after his recently stolen wallet is returned to her by a conscientious citizen. Meanwhile, cleaner Beatrice (Clea DuVall) is forced to reconsider her idealistic approach to life after being hit by a life-changing accident and an unwarranted accusation. Most of these people cross each other s paths in some way, sometimes casually, sometimes prodoundly, their conversations in all cases leading them to a greater understanding of the one thing of the film s title: the elusive nature of happiness.
Special Features: Director s Commentary, Trailer
Thrillingly smart... you may also find yourself surprised by the depth of its insights --New York Times
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Top Customer Reviews
"What anyone wants," he says, "is to experience life to the fullest. To be happy." The plot then focuses on a cocky prosecutor (Matthew McConaughey), first seen celebrating a conviction at a bar. But on his way home, however, he hits a pedestrian with his car - then panics and leaves her in the street to die. His world is turned inside out by guilt, an emotion at which he earlier scoffed
Possibly the most exciting performance was handed in by Alan Arkin who plays Gene English, dissatisfied manager of a department at an insurance company who supervises a staff full of men he can't stand. In particular, he has it in for a fellow nicknamed "Smiley" because of his constantly upbeat attitude. Pressured by cutbacks at work, Gene also copes with an estranged son whose drug habit keeps him in and out of prison. Gene English's life is sour.
Then there's the young housecleaner Beatrice (Clea Duvall), who takes pride in her work and flirts with one of her employers, an architect. Having been saved from drowning as a child, she tells a friend that she had a vision at that moment that she was being saved for a reason.Read more ›
The movie revolves around five New Yorkers that end up getting involved in one another's life in some way. There's the public defender who in a chain of events ends up walking the path of a criminal by covering his tracks. And then there is the bitter business man who can't stand the fact that one of his workers is always happy no matter what. There's the confused college professor who fears of not living life to the fullest after being mugged. There's the happy and enthusiastic cleaning woman who believes miracles happens everyday, but has her worldview drastically changed when she is hospitalized after being hit by a car. And finally, there's the woman who has to deal with the fact that her husband is cheating on her after having his stolen wallet returned. All of this is a setup for a sad, and yet moving film about the everyday events that we overlook from time to time. And how we never really notice even the smallest chain reactions that occur everywhere.
This was a great movie to watch and kept my attention throughout. I do admit that I was confused the first time, being that the movie really isn't told in chronological order, but more set up as little separate stories. After seeing it a second time it really did help me understand more of what was transpiring.Read more ›
Casting is impressive, and the scenario is great. However little in fact feels credible about most of these stories - how come a maid can afford her own apartment? The true joy comes from the conversations in the insurance office, more real than reality, and they may probably survive any test of time, too.
The revelations, or learnings, of the movie come to you a few hours after watching it. It's all about sinking in and taking the time to realise - really just like they do in this film.
A great film to watch, but not that memorable.
I'd use it to demonstrate some great human notions of loss and freedom of choice to many of my colleagues at work, any time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm surprised there are no 5 star ratings in the reviews here, so had to remedy that. In some ways perhaps it only deserves 4 stars, but compared with the usual hollywood bland... Read morePublished on 5 Mar. 2012 by Gillian Smith
I started a review, intending around 8 sentences and no more. Swiftly this became a very long film luvvy style critique, which I certainly didn't want to do. Read morePublished on 8 Dec. 2011 by Amazon Customer
Before I saw this movie I noted that Alan Arkin is one of the stars of the movie and made the assumption that there would be some comic relief involved - there is none at all. Read morePublished on 5 Jan. 2008 by Mary Chrapliwy / Reviewer's Diary
despite what the other reviewers have said (who must be arty fairy types for liking this film), my advise is to stay clear. Read morePublished on 24 Oct. 2007 by S. Harris
This film follows the lives of 4 loosely connected characters and explores whether they are happy or not, and why.. Read morePublished on 26 July 2006 by A. Verma