The Greatest Actress on Earth 

Is Parker Posey, DUH!

Personal Velocity

dir. Miller

Opens Nov 29

Various Theaters

Like most people, I believe Parker Posey to be the greatest actress of our time. I also believe that, in general, she plays her parts the same in every movie: the bitchy tour de force who oozes sarcasm with more brilliant subtlety than anyone else alive. This is not to say she's an untalented actress; it's just that Parker Posey cannot escape herself--her personality is usually stronger than those of the parts she's given. It's not her fault; she's a Scorpio.

In Personal Velocity, though, the new digital video (DV) feature by writer/director Rebecca Miller (Arthur's daughter), Parker reaches past her persona to portray an intensely ambitious book editor whose exciting relationship with her job helps her to realize what's lacking in her boring relationship with her husband. There's nothing particularly funny about the part, other than the fact that you're waiting for Parker to crack out something really bitchy, causing contact hilarity. Parker is great at playing her character's anxiety, though, and interpreting her workaholic drive combined with comical sexual tension between her character and the novelist she's editing.

Okay well, this movie is not about Parker entirely. Personal Velocity is actually split up into three, literary parts, all gleaned from Miller's book, which portrays women reacting within their prescribed social roles. The first is that of the wife: Kyra Sedgwick plays Delia, the tough girl whose loneliness manifested itself in promiscuity in high school, and who must find the strength to leave her abusive husband.

The story of Greta (Posey) is the one in which a woman must accept her career as her true love; the third stars Fairuza Balk as what else a pregnant goth who must go on a mini-adventure to discover her nurturing side. The movie's only thread is that of three women finding power within themselves, and while that sounds on paper like most women-centric independent films--the grad-school feminist treatise that refreshingly shows women outside their stereotypes, but doesn't necessarily challenge anything--it's a fairly well written sketch of characters experiencing pain, upheaval, revelation. Also, aside from the DV handicap, it's not really a narrative piece, so it's amazing that it got any kind of distribution whatsoever. Go see it and add another notch to your Parker Posey slam book.

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