"Sheedy still has the stuff. Rhada Mitchell... doesn't."
Drugs. Lesbians. Nudity. Steady on lads, this ain't no Russ Meyer renaissance, this is High Art, an emotional trek into the hearts and minds of an impressionable young photography fan and an older, reclusive artiste who has shut herself out of the art world and locked into a drug-riddled semi-existence.When Syd (Mitchell who played Frances O'Connor's gal pal in Love And Other Catastrophes) ventures away from her mind numbing boyfriend's apartment and discovers a new exciting world upstairs, she befriends hermit hippy photographer Lucy (Sheedy from The Breakfast Club, St Elmo's Fire) and tries to coax her back into the mainstream art world. Syd and Lucy become fascinated with one another. Lucy feeds off Syd's excitement and passion, while Syd is entranced by Lucy's artistry and experience in life.
Sheedy, in what's effectively her comeback feature film, is outstanding. There's no doubt she nails her character in every scene, and though some could say it's a Courtney Love-type situation of only playing herself, that shouldn't detract from what is a superb performance. Mitchell, perhaps a little overawed in her big step up, stumbles somewhat through her part, though again it suits the character. Patricia Clarkson (Jumanji, Untouchables), who plays Greta, a former Fassbinder actress and Lucy's jealous and terminally out-of-it partner, is awesome - a real scene-stealer in her role.
While the performances in High Art are worth the price of admission, there's an overtone of pretentiousness in the directing - somewhat ironic as the film seeks to explore the pretension of the art world. Many shots seem to be trying too hard to be photographs in themselves, whereas many others are of the 'plonk a camera in the corner of the room' variety.High Art is bound to be hit or miss with the audience. Exploring bisexuality won't be everyone's cup of double decaf, but with an open and patient mind this film is worth your time.