“Claire Dolan”

Claire Dolan _

By Jae-Ha Kim
Amazon.com
February 21, 2006

A bittersweet film about an Irish immigrant working as a mid-level prostitute in Manhattan, Claire Dolan tells a darkly intriguing story that is less about sex than trying to attain love. Dolan–portrayed with subtle melancholy by Katrin Cartlidge (who died in 2002 from complications of pneumonia and blood poisoning)–is too pragmatic to think she could ever fall in love with one of her clients. They are merely business transactions.

What she wants is to have the unconditional love of having her own baby. When she meets a quiet cabbie (Vincent D’Onofrio), it’s apparent that despite what they say to each other, their troubled relationship is based on desperation, not love.

Director Lodge Kerrigan offers sparing insight into Dolan’s past, just enough to make you concerned about her uncertain future. He doesn’t try to make the characters understand whether they can accept each other, and he vehemently refuses to reassure his audience that everything will be all right. For moviegoers who have been conditioned by happy Hollywood endings, this can be a little unsettling.

But that uncertainty–as in real life–is part of the beauty of this understated drama.

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