Women On Film – “Reunion” – Susan Granger reviews

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Writer/director Alan Hruska’s midlife rumination on revelations from college days reveals how, perhaps more often than not, our past determines our present.

Before she died, Janie Burns tantalized fellow members of an exclusive Yale society by sending each of them a letter promising to reveal some buried ‘secrets’ that would touch them all. Ten years later, her attorney husband Jake (Brett Cullen) invites them all to come to Manhattan to attend a meeting. Since Jake wrote a novel which enraged many of his fellow ‘best and brightest’ cohorts, only a few accept but those who do are eager to participate in the kind of confession-and-confrontation sessions they used to relish back in New Haven.

There’s big-time film producer, Lloyd (David Thornton), accompanied by his actress girlfriend, Minerva (Alice Evans); alcoholic, less-than-successful businessman, Barnaby (Jamey Sheridan), and his frustrated novelist/wife, Emily (Cynthia Stevenson); actress-turned-talent agent, Sadie (Amy Pietz); outspoken, resentful journalist, Eamon (Christopher McDonald); prominent, if ethnocentric Jewish doctor/philanthropist, Saul (Josh Pais) with his adoring wife, Beth (Jessica Hecht); and Jake’s loyal assistant, Averil (Zoe McLellan), who obviously wishes she had a closer relationship with her widower boss.

While the provocative set-up is reminiscent of “The Big Chill,” the problem is that Janie’s oft-referred-to letter is never read and the highly anticipated ‘secrets’ are less than earth-shattering, making one wish for a more effective payoff after 90 minutes. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to10, “Reunion” is a psychobabbling 6. I just wish it didn’t come across as a muddled melodrama about entitled elitists.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.