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Syd (Radha Mitchell) is an editor at a painfully pretentious art magazine; by chance, she becomes acquainted with lesbian photographer Lucy (Ally Sheedy) and her weirdo German girlfriend (Patricia Clarkson, in a strange Dietrich-like role). Syd becomes captivated with Lucy and her work and, smelling a career move, offers to feature her in the next issue of the magazine. The two become attracted, but their relationship is fraught with perils--Syd loses her rather square boyfriend, Lucy's girlfriend takes a hike, the avaricious management at the magazine pressures Syd, and, most importantly, the pair begins to travel down the road of heroin addiction. Besides the lesbian theme, High Art addresses such subtexts as what an artist will (or won't) be willing to do for recognition, and what price that recognition carries. High Art is a remarkably honest work, painful at times but understated and thoughtful. It does an excellent job of portraying the heroin-induced torpor of Lucy and her bohemian friends as they lie around and become consumed with the stuff. It's a cautionary tale, a sincere love story, a reflection on the nature of art, and a "lesbian film" for which the lesbianism is integral but not part of an overriding agenda. Sheedy is excellent, as is Mitchell in a very expressive role. It's far from being a feel-good movie, but High Art undeniably has some power behind it that will stick with you past the closing credits.

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MC21136 High Art DVD (1998/Ally Sheedy) $14.98