Pippa Lee, the woman at the center of this story, has come a long way to be this person we first encounter in a suburban setting. Having left Manhattan with her much older publisher husband to the safe haven of a Connecticut peaceful living, makes her reflect on her youth and the way her life has turned out to be.
Coming from a sort of dysfunctional family herself, Pippa Sarkissian led a stormy home life with her ow mother, Suky, an unbalanced woman that left scars in her daughter that will haunt her life forever. Pippa had a wild life when she left home to be on her own in Manhattan. She hung out with a fast crowd, one which introduced her to Herb Lee, then married, who fell in love with Pippa and threw it all away to be with her.
Pippa's past is revealed in the form of flashbacks. After her mother's death she went to live for a while with her lesbian aunt Trish, whose partner, Kat, convinces the young girl to pose for her sado-masochistic photographs with other women. Pippa recollection of the events of her youth come back to mingle with her present stability and somewhat perfect life.
Now, many years later, we find her taking care of Herb, who has dad three heart attacks and although not frail, by any means, is a time bomb waiting to explode. Pippa and Herb have two grown children, Grace and Ben, now living on their own. Pippa's neighbor Dot, has a son, Chris, that never amounted to much. His return causes Pippa's friend concern because he is aimless. Pippa strikes a friendship with this kind soul, something that ultimately seems to bring her to a kind of happiness when she leaves searching for some sort of fulfillment.
The film is based on Rebecca Miller's own novel, which she adapted for the screen. It is a complex story dealing with a woman facing an uncertain future, while reflecting on her own journey to where we find her. She is, as someone calls her, "an enigma", at best. No one can really imagine what she has been through, and no one can claim to really know her well; not even the husband with whom she has spent many years, her children, or her friends. The betrayal of her husband unravels her, changing her life dramatically.
Robin Wright keeps surprising with each new appearance. Her Pippa Lee is an amazing creation. Working with Ms. Miller, the actress does one of her best works in quite a while. Alan Arkin plays Herb Lee, the man that falls in love with the younger Pippa. The most interesting roles are played by women. Blake Lively is seen as the younger Pippa in what appears to be a stretch for this young talent. Lovely Maria Bello appears as Suky, the disturbed mother of Pippa. Keanu Reeves shows up as Chris in an introspective performance from this actor, better known in other genres. Others seen in the film are the great Shirley Knight, Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore, Robin Weigert, Wynona Ryder, Zoe Kazan, and Mike Binder, among the large cast.
Declan Quinn photographed the production in subtle colors. The musical score is by Michael Rohatyn. Rebecca Miller keeps showing she is one of the new voices in the American independent cinema that has a lot going for herself every time she directs.