American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Henry Jaglom’s latest film, "Irene in Time" is dedicated "to my daughter." A curious note to end on, since it is about a woman whose personality and selfhood have been destroyed by an absent, unreliable father. So much is obsessed by this long-gone parent that her life is consumed by talking about her father, relating her childhood memories, hanging around with his old friends and dating men she hopes will fill the gap in her life.
Her dating strategy is so inept and needy, however, it’s a wonder one guy lasted for what she says is three months but he precisely times at two and a half months. Another poor guy, an architect, doesn’t last though their first dinner together. She asks if he uses a protractor and compass in his drawing; he says he does. And pencils and erasers? Yes, he says, all the tools. "And what is your favorite tool?" He doesn’t have one. "Come on," she says, "close your eyes and concentrate! Name your favorite tool!" By now he’s looking desperate and asks: "What is your problem?"
Her Daddy’s Little Girl act isn’t helped by the books she studies about how to behave on dates, attract men and so forth. If any of you, my dear readers, are women studying such books as The Rules, I offer this free advice: A wise man will stay far away from a woman playing him like a fish, and only a needy one will respond well if you are coy about returning his calls.
Irene (Tanna Frederick) is such an insecure flywheel that any man (repeat, any man) should know enough to start edging away after two minutes of conversation. A woman’s stock of small talk shouldn’t center on how magical her father was, especially when she’s in her 30s and hasn’t seen him since she was young.