Puccini for Beginners
| Our Rating:
L Factor: Major lesbian content
Short Take: In a bisexual love triangle, Allegra begins dating two people at the same time – a woman and, surprising herself, a man.
Duration: 82 min
MPAA: Not Rated
|Director: Maria Maggenti
Writer: Maria Maggenti
Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Gretchen Mol, Justin Kirk, Julianne Nicholson
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Writer/director Maria Maggenti struck a chord with the The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love, and a decade later, she’s back with a well produced comedy about a bisexual romantic triangle.
Allegra (Elizabeth Reaser) is a New York writer and opera fanatic dumped by her girlfriend Sam (Julianne Nicholson, Kinsey) when she can’t commit. To compensate, she begins dating two other people – a woman (Grace, Gretchen Mol) and, surprising herself, a man (Philip, Justin Kirk).
In scenes that harken to Woody Allen, Allegra juggles the two relationships with advice from strangers passing by on the Manhattan streets. As a lesbian who finds herself dating a man, she questions her sexual identity and analyzes her behavior with a feminist eye.
With a plot that is a bit predictable, we find that Philip and Grace used to be a couple, both raw from their breakup and rebounding with Allegra. Can there be any hope that she doesn’t end up breaking both of their hearts as well as her own?
The dialog is smart, couched in the New York intellectual milieu, but without the sexiness one might expect from this kind of story. Still, it is generally well acted and a pleasant, if not entirely original, comedy for those who don’t mind their lesbians dating charming men every now and then. (AB)