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Polly is the world's worst secretary, but she's a great art photographer, only no-one's ever told her that, and she doesn't know it herself. She takes a job working for a curator of an art-gallery who knows all the words, but hasn't got the faintest clue about art. Fortunately for Polly, the Curator is not that bothered about typing or organisation either. Polly falls in love with her (in a strictly Platonic sense), but the curator is already in love with an artist who does know what art is.

Polly should never have been a secretary, and the curator should have been a poet ('half-lives half-lived' - isn't that great?), or anything except a visual arts curator. Director Patricia Rozema could have played this one for laughs, but instead she makes it an exquisite exploration of people who don't fit in -- people who don't even fit into the artistic 'you don't have to fit in' world.

At Cannes in 1987, 100 critics voted this as one of the best 10 Canadian films every made. However, the fact that you can only order this from the Netherlands, and have to switch the subtitles off before you start watching it in English, indicates that this is just too off the beaten track to ever make it among the wider public.

I watched this in the cinema when it first came out, and was delighted to rediscover it on DVD. It hasn't aged, but I have, and I see different things in it now from what I saw then (I was ten years younger than the main character, and now I am ten years older than her).

If you're worried about watching a 'lesbian' film, don't be. This film isn't about sex at all. It's about art, and friendship, and disappointment, and people not understanding themselves. Its weirdness has, I think, more to do with it being Dutch-Canadian than anything else...
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on 15 May 2009
A gem of a film, one of the most perfectly pitched small dramas of the 1980s. Polly is an eccentric loner photographer, living alone with a cat and eating out of cans. Her dress and hair sense is odd, she continually looses temping jobs, she avoids social situations like parties, she takes things that are said to her literally, she's bluntly outspoken and direct on the few occasions when not crippled by her shyness, and she has one abiding passion (photography) - from the perspective of 2009, we can now see that Polly is a character with high-functioning Asperger's Syndrome. Anyway, Polly gets a temping job at an art gallery and this fascinating little film begins.... Don't be worried that this is a 1980s movie - the clothes and hairstyles certainly do make this a _very_ mid 1980s movie, but in the best possible way. It's aged very well, and thankfully the music is fairly timeless rather than 1980s rock/pop.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 May 2009
A gem of a film, one of the most perfectly pitched small dramas of the 1980s. Polly is an eccentric loner photographer, living alone with a cat and eating out of cans. Her dress and hair sense is odd, she continually looses temping jobs, she takes things that are said to her literally, she's bluntly outspoken and direct on the few occasions when not crippled by her shyness, and she has one abiding passion (photography) - from the perspective of 2009, we can see that Polly is a borderline high-functioning Asperger's Syndrome person. Polly gets a job at an art gallery, and this fascinating little film begins.... Don't be worried that this is a 1980s movie - the clothes and hairstyles do make this a _very_ mid 1980s movie, but in the best possible way. It's aged very well, and thankfully the music is fairly timeless rather than 1980s rock/pop.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 February 2015
This is simply magical (not at all trite!) and one of the best films I've ever seen.
Brilliantly realised, and absolutely unmissable, it is one of THE films to see before you die.
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on 16 February 2014
This is a film I have watched many times, it is so funny and well observed that I recommend it to anyone wanting to escape the ordinary and celebrate the quirky.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 December 2014
perfect
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on 14 February 2015
Very good
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