Reckless

on February 03, 1984 by Kevin Courrier
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   Screened at Toronto. Mia Farrow can give amazingly luminous performances that demonstrate how (as an actress) her elusive strength and resilience give depth to her delicate features. For about the first fourth of "Reckless," she turns a dippy housewife into a radiant sprite. But in the end the film is a failed attempt at quirky black comedy because it keeps wanting to sneak in realistic life lessons. Not only do they not make sense, but the shift in tone grinds the movie to a halt.
   Rachel (Farrow) is happily married and enjoying Christmas Eve until she discovers that her husband (Tony Goldwyn) has taken out a contract on her life. She escapes into the snowy landscape and meets an affable physiotherapist named Lloyd (Scott Glenn), who takes her home for the holidays. There she meets his deaf paraplegic wife Pooty (Mary-Louise Parker), and they bond to form a family until tragedy tears them apart.
   Until the catastrophes mount, the actors are wonderful; besides Farrow, Glenn is astonishing at keeping audiences guessing about Lloyd's true nature. Parker is a comic genius who relies on the simplest gestures to give her character depth and warmth. Norman Rene ("Prelude to a Kiss") can't find a consistent style to fit Craig Lucas' rickety adaptation of his stage play. The movie seems to be about learning to face your past, but it can't find a present, and it seems not to have a future.    Starring Mia Farrow, Scott Glenn, Mary-Louise Parker and Tony Goldwyn. Directed by Norman Rene. Written by Craig Lucas. Produced by Amy J. Kaufman. A Goldwyn release. Drama. Rated PG-13 for complex psychological themes and some disturbing images. Running time: 100 min.
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