A Modern Affair

on May 24, 1996 by Pat Kramer
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What do you do when you're a cynical, over-40, New York-based, female executive and you want a baby but have no romantic irons in the fire? You go to the sperm bank, of course -- and then you think about having a relationship. "A Modern Affair" follows savvy corporate executive Grace Rhodes ("The Vanish-ing's" Lisa Eichhorn) in her search for meaning in life after she and her single best friend Elaine ("This Is My Life's" Caroline Aaron) come to the conclusion that Mr. Right is nothing but a cruel joke. After deciding she wants a baby, Grace journeys to the sperm bank and becomes pregnant. Increasingly curious about the donor's identity, she tracks down the man in question: commitment-phobic photographer Peter Kessler ("Undercover Blues'" Stanley Tucci). Hoping just to grab a quick glimpse of him, she instead falls prey to her own emotional expectations about a relationship.
This is an amusing love story that seems plausible in today's me-first era. Eichhorn and Tucci convincingly convey the dual qualities of shallowness and fear but also the hidden vulnerability each character has about interacting with others. There are several comic moments when the two act like awkward teenagers, unable to decide what moves to make. The film's premise -- that a highly successful woman can find meaning in motherhood without the strings of a relationship -- is not a new one, but the approach makes it seem believable. Although the film depicts some of the dismal realities that relationships bring, it also celebrates the willingness of two fragile souls to go beyond their fears and take the risks necessary to grow. Starring Lisa Eichhorn, Caroline Aaron and Stanley Tucci. Directed and produced by Vern Oakley. Written by Paul Zimmerman. A Tara release. Romantic comedy. Unrated. Running time: 90 min.
Tags: Lisa Eichhorn, Caroline Aaron, Stanley Tucci, Vern Oakley, Paul Zimmerman, romance, motherhood, baby, pregnancy
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