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The Farewell Party

High drama and lowbrow, morbid humor get stitched together in this successful tragicomedy about terminal patients and assisted suicide. Works better than expected.

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Sunshine Superman

I found Jean Boenish’s philosophical musings less than persuasive. And I don’t think my fear of heights was the reason for my bias.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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I need counseling over grief counseling

From George Rieger:

I have always respected your writing, but was disappointed with your comments about grief counseling in your review of "Hesher." My wife is a grief counselor, having worked at a hospice for 11 years. She has a gift of being able to come into strangers lives at the most difficult times and offer them support, guidance, and relief.

Often, it is difficult to seek comfort from those with whom you are the closest; they may be struggling with the same loss. If you have discouraged one person from accepting, or seeking help, you have done a disservice. And consider that grief is about all loss, not necessarily that of the death of someone close.

I hope you reconsider your judgement of grief counseling.

Ebert: I was much too hasty, and regret it.

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