It begins with fractured clips of the same woman (Rachel Weisz) in multiple professions, going by multiple names. That’s a discombobulated start for a straightforward, bluesy drama about the identities and life-paths we choose for ourselves. The always-interesting Michael Shannon stars as Tom, a New York academic celebrating his birthday at a time of uncertainty, as his wife (Azita Ghanizada) is contemplating a career-related move to California. One of their friends brings a date to the party, Alice (Weisz), a self-assured woman whom Tom recognizes from his past—except her name wasn't Alice then. Through much engrossing walk-and-talk action (shades of the Before Sunrise trilogy), director Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace) has Tom—and us—come to see the appeal in Alice’s untethered way of life, her liberating gift for becoming whomever she pleases. Weisz plays Alice as a determinedly free-spirited polymath, not a careless flake, while Shannon’s Tom is bemused, annoyed and fascinated by her. It might be better as a conversation-starter than as cinema, but the film’s astute central performances elevate it.
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