Petty Woman

For a price Molly Parker takes Peter Sarsgaard to The Center of the World

Yet even as Wang hits us with shocking truths (sex, for example, is different from computers) and some very nice character-enhancing flashbacks, it's hard to tell what we're supposed to make of this shortcut to nowhere. Sometimes it's easy to forget how conservative America still is (or more accurately, pretends to be), so maybe this is all about good old-fashioned taboo-smashing. Or maybe it's just an unconventional travelogue, with the camera left on when most people switch it off.

Looking up one more time at this artificial oasis of harmony, it dawns on me that there is always grit beneath the tranquillity, and -- according to The Center of the World -- the converse may be true as well, for those who seek it. Ultimately Florence and Richard go nowhere, but they definitely share a significant journey, suggesting that the world may have many centers.

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