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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.67%
Worth A Look: 8.33%
Pretty Bad: 8.33%
Total Crap: 8.33%

1 review, 6 user ratings

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Invisible Circus, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"There is hardly a feather ruffled during the 98-minute running time."
3 stars

Aside from the pretty pictures that usually accompany postcards, I have never much been into sending or receiving them. The actual amount of space that you have to write, or what little you are given to read is so small and unsatisfactory generally. Often, for those writing the card, you have to leave out many details and points of interest just to make enough room. And for those receiving the postcard, you often get the sense that you are missing out on something and that it is not all there. Such is the case with The Invisible Circus. It certainly looks nice, like the matte or glossy postcard, but when it comes to specifics and details, The Invisible Circus plays a trick on us and makes it, well, invisible.

Jordana Brewster (The Faculty) is Phoebe, a recent grad from high school and typical teen during the middle Seventies. She lives alone with her mother (Blythe Danner), but often reminisces of the days before her father (Patrick Bergin) died and her older sister Faith (Cameron Diaz) went to Europe after her graduation, and committed suicide while there.

In some voiceover narration, we are told that Phoebe has become very disconnected and disassociated from her life, but this is all told and not shown. Even if it were to be the axiom for the movie, it is hard to believe because Brewster fails to act as though she were distraught.

Soon after her graduation, she informs her mother that she’s planning on going to Europe also to help her mentally overcome Faith. Phoebe feels as though there is something she must discover, and by traveling to all the places Faith did, she believes that she will discover the missing links. After all, no good reason was given following Faith’s suicide.

Along her venture, Phoebe runs into Faith’s old boyfriend, Wolf (Christopher Eccleston), of whom she left the US with. He wants to help her, but doesn’t know what Phoebe is specifically after. When she plans on leaving his area, he decides to join her in her quest. In modicum, Wolf reveals more and more about her sister. At the time which they left, all those hippies thought they could change the world, and since it wasn’t happening in the States, they took their political activism elsewhere. The effects wore off for Wolf who was satisfied with small fries, but it grew to an obsessive passion for Faith. (“When you do something crazy long enough, it becomes normal”) and she got involved with German terrorists and other shady groups.

The revelations continue to roll in, none of which are particularly surprising or shocking, and much of this is told via flashback. Despite the other cast, The Invisible Circus develops into just another Cameron Diaz movie, where she is more the focus than anyone else, even those billed before her conjoining “…and Cameron Diaz.” And it is no help when the flashbacks are bifurcated to normal, clear compositions, while then often switching to an indigo-coated wash. It lacks continuity and purpose.

The Invisible Circus is too much of that postcard; we hardly see the highlights of her trip as it is “Cliff Noted” by. Details are constantly left out, and you cannot help but feel as though things were left out because the director/adapter Adam Brooks didn’t think they were sufficient enough. There is hardly a feather ruffled during the 98-minute running time. By the end, the overly tidy movie has re-wrapped itself, and it fails to enlighten us. Although there is some definite interest in Phoebe’s ghost chasing, by the denouncement, you really feel as if is an unmotivated charade.

There are only touches of interest, brought up by some briefly broached issues, such as the father’s self-imposing relationship with Faith and the set-asidedness of Phoebe and her mother. This is where the real material is, why is it hardly mentioned in an outburst and then herein miskened? All too much of the journey is an unmotivated patina. Sure, there are some nice images we cross paths with, but it’s all a glossy, superficial look. And it doesn’t help for the sake of validity that Brewster doesn’t even slightly resemble Diaz nor Danner. Brewster looks almost Indian during some scenes.

Final Verdict: C.

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originally posted: 02/03/01 04:44:43
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User Comments

11/25/02 Buddha I dig Jordana Brewster a ton, but this left me dry. 4 stars
6/02/02 stud I love this film 5 stars
1/14/02 Andrew Carden You Have To Have An Aquired Taste For Heartbreaking Drama, but It's Great. 5 stars
12/01/01 Belinda It took nearly the full length of the movie to get into this ! 2 stars
2/06/01 Poetchuck Average, sleepy movie 3 stars
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  16-Feb-2001 (R)


  29-Nov-2001 (M)

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