Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stephanie Daley DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Drama Devoted to Teen Who Murders Her Own Newborn

Forensic psychologist Lydie Crane (Tilda Swinton) is seven months pregnant and apprehensive because she is still haunted by the stillborn birth of her baby only a year ago. The loss has left her not only grief-stricken and brooding about the meaning of life but fearful about her current fetus and burdened by doubts about her emotionally-distant husband’s (Timothy Hutton) fidelity.
These feelings are only intensified when a DA assigns her the curious case of the equally-morose Stephanie Daley (Amber Tamblyn) who’s just been arrested for the murder of her newborn. Though her infant was found abandoned in a public bathroom, the 16 year-old sticks to a phony alibi that she didn’t know she was pregnant.
After issuing Stephanie her Miranda warnings that anything she says can and will be used against her in a court of law, Dr. Crane coaxes the accused to come clean about what happened. Then, in a series of revealing flashbacks, we gradually learn the whole story of how the naïve teen had been statutorily raped by an older boy and the role that her religious beliefs might have played in the inaction which led to the tragedy.
While listening to her patient, the shrink simultaneously starts to reflect and to do some soul searching, too. And the pair’s periodic commiserating during their sessions provides the vehicle for the claustrophobic meditation on the sundry mysteries explored over the course of Stephanie Daley.
Ignoring the picture’s preposterous premise that an expert witness for the prosecution would ever exhibit such sensitivity towards a defendant in a criminal case, the film nonetheless works because of the way in which two females manage to mind-meld and make peace on a middle ground. A cerebral, female empowerment flick which takes its cues from empathy and understanding as opposed to testosterone.

Very good (3 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, profanity, teen pregnancy, and disturbing themes.
Running time: 92 minutes
Studio: Liberation Entertainment

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