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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.41%
Worth A Look: 25.93%
Pretty Bad: 11.11%
Total Crap: 3.7%

3 reviews, 9 user ratings

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November (2005)
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by William Goss

"Arrested Development"
3 stars

Was it her fault? Did Sophie Jacobs (Courteney Cox) get her boyfriend (James LeGros) killed? After all, she had asked him to stop off at the convenience store for a late-night treat, and suddenly, a gunshot rings out and everything changes. As time passes on, Sophie begins to question her grip on reality, as bizarre circumstances all point back to that fateful night. Is she really losing it?

If you’re not so sure yourself, worry not, because November repeats these events not once, not twice, but three times (in segments titled “Denial,” “Despair,” and “Acceptance,” after the stages of coping) with variations to the story in each chapter. While it doesn’t fully deliver of its Guilt, Lola, Guilt premise, the film is nonetheless an intriguing effort to capture the psychological effects of loss. Director Greg Harrison (Groove) shoots the events on digital video, giving the narrative(s) a distinctly tangible feel and making the occasional eerie incident seem even more surreal in context. Each version of the story is filmed in a dominant color to bring a different mood to every section, and the lighting appropriately reflects the dimming certainty of the proceedings.

The film mainly seems like a showcase for Cox to distance herself from her streak-free Friends persona, and for the most part, she succeeds in enveloping herself in the ever-brooding role as a woman stuck in a moment. The three-act split does offer somewhat more range as a sum than any part would individually, and her grief-stricken soul and questionable sanity are sympathetic without excessive poutiness. LeGros makes the most of his brief appearances prior to the incident, and Nora Dunn and Anne Archer reassure as Sophie’s therapist and mother.

Sophie’s job as a photographer leads to repeated diatribes about determining what lies within and outside a frame. Of course, this eventually figures into the overdone ending, a considerable cheat for all that intrigue building up. The mystery is always teasing, yet anyone growing weary won’t have to sit out too much. The film runs a measly 83 minutes including credits, so any tangling threads are sure to tidied up soon enough.

'November' isn’t a failure as much as it is a good effort by all parties involved to produce something somber and enthralling without being overly pretentious. At the very least, Cox earns credit for showing us a character outside of a sitcom. Should there be a blame game, just remember: it wasn’t her fault.

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originally posted: 12/08/05 19:42:07
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/17/20 Old Old Tom Film goes nowhere & takes too long to get there. 1 stars
6/26/09 Mister E well, I'm only half-way thru... ask me again at the end of the movie (btw, need popcorn) 4 stars
5/13/07 Jackie Proof that an independent art-house film which debuts at Sundance is not necessarily good. 2 stars
3/30/07 fools♫gold I could deal with a 3/5, but I say try looking for a better flick. 2 stars
7/04/06 Trina Harris The stages of the grieving process where right on.I can relate! 5 stars
6/21/06 jim gossen Just because a film becomes complicated doesn't mean it's good. 2 stars
1/24/06 Phil M. Aficionado Point & click: Needs a point in order to click with me. 4-star acting in 2-star "story" 3 stars
6/01/05 Johanna Hewlett Brown No resolution, more like 'Run, Lola, Run' - three dif versions of the same banal story. 3 stars
8/26/04 sarah chrest Scary funny and witty I love the characters 5 stars
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  22-Jul-2005 (R)
  DVD: 20-Dec-2005



Directed by
  Greg Harrison

Written by
  Benjamin Brand

  Courteney Cox
  James LeGros
  Michael Ealy
  Nora Dunn
  Nick Offerman
  Anne Archer

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