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Personal velocity

Threat advisory: Guarded - General risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Personal velocity tells the affecting stories of three American women struggling to make sense of the lives they've found themselves living.

Delia (Kyra Sedgwick) is a young mother stuck in an abusive relationship with her husband of 12 years. One night after he brutally beats her, Delia finally attempts to reclaim some of the power she's completely lost.

Greta (Parker Posey) is a cookbook editor at a crossroads in life, "rotten with ambition" and semi-struggling with issues of fidelity to her kind but unexciting husband.

And Paula (Fairuza Balk) is thrust into crisis after having a near-death experience. Driving to her mother's house in upstate New York, she picks up a hitchhiker, a badly beaten young boy who helps her discover a new sense of spirit.

As each story unfolds, each woman finds herself forced to make a decision - a decision that will change her life forever.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Personal velocity image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film drama women

Persons of interest

  • Kyra Sedgwick .... Delia
  • Parker Posey .... Greta
  • Fairuza Balk .... Paula
  • John Ventimiglia .... Narrator
  • Tim Guinee .... Lee
  • Wallace Shawn .... Mr Gelb
  • Lou Taylor Pucci .... Kevin
  • Mara Hobel .... Fay
  • David Warshofsky .... Kurt Wurtzle
  • Seth Gilliam .... Vincent
  • Joel de la Fuente .... Thavi Matola
  • Patti D'Arbanville .... Celia
  • Ron Leibman .... Avram
  • Nick Cubbler .... John Wurtzle
  • Nicole Murphy .... May Wurtzle
  • Brian Tarantina .... Pete Shunt
  • Laura Fanelli .... Young Delia
  • Rebecca Miller .... Author
  • Rebecca Miller .... Screenwriter
  • Rebecca Miller .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

A triptych of post-modern feminist angst.

On their own, each of these stories is a curious glimpse into someone else's life, like looking through their living room window as you drive past on your way home. That's where Personal velocity falls down: there's not enough information to turn that glimpse into a stare (which is, after all, what you do when you watch a film). Seeing a woman leave an abusive marriage is too small a concept to make into a film or even a third of a film. Seeing a woman cheat on her husband and/or offer aid to a stranger isn't enough, either. At the risk of being accused of masculocentrism, I say that none of these women are worthy of having (a third of) a film made about them. They are a valid record of "herstory" but a film must be more than mere documentation: it must entertain. I wasn't entertained by this film.

At the risk of being accused of over-simplification, I have to say that the central theme is not that the women are victims of circumstance or even the repressive, abusive patriarchy but that all men are bastards. None of the men in Personal velocity are what I would call sympathetic characters. At one end of the scale they are wife-beaters, at the other end they repay kindness with car theft. Mind you, none of the women are particularly engaging: they are either serial victims or reasonably pathetic losers.

Maybe I had taken too much medication. Maybe I am not the target demographic. Maybe I just didn't get it. Maybe the glaringly obvious camera-work was too much. Maybe it all seemed washed out. Maybe I just don't care. Maybe I'm a bastard. Whatever the reason(s), I didn't enjoy Personal velocity. You might be different. Or maybe not.

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Medium level coarse language)

Surveillance time

86 minutes (1:26 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 17 July 2003

Cinema surveillance images

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