StorySadly, playwright Wendy Kesselman's sensitive story about anti-Semitism is rather forcibly directed by former casting agent Billy Hopkins, as if this were not so much a feature film as a glorified after-school special for TV. Despite that, the film largely works on the strength of its two leads: Claire Danes, who plays a young Jewish girl identified as such at her private, coed high school, and Jeanne Moreau, who plays her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. As Danes's character is increasingly shunned and becomes a target of bigotry and vandalism, Moreau's loving grandma helps keep her from going over the edge.
The film also concerns the high price of being different on many fronts. Not only is Danes's young heroine dissimilar to her friends because she's Jewish, she's also intense, keenly intelligent, and a poetry lover. When she falls for a callow stud at school who worries about the opinion of his idiotic friends, she feels for the first time the pain of being rejected for being who she is. Moreau is magnificent as the lifelong survivor who knows when to give her granddaughter refuge and when to push her into the real world to find her own footing. Danes's performance reads like a map of increasingly exciting things to come in her career; there are moments in this film when you look at her and can see the consummate actress in her future. --Tom Keogh
|James Van Der Beek||Tony|
|Julia Stiles||Young Nana's Friend|
|Robert Sean Leonard||Angel of Death|