House Of Cards

An accomplished and provocative first feature by writer-director Michael Lessac, built around the proposition that, as Lessac puts it, children see things we don’t. A six-year-old (Asha Menina) returns fatherless to North Carolina from an extended stay with her family in Mexico, where she’d come under the influence of an Indian archaeologist who steeped her in Mayan folklore. Now she displays both autistic behavior and visionary artistic giftsthe former according to a child psychologist (Tommy Lee Jones), the latter according to her mother (Kathleen Turner), an architect with a virtual-reality computer program who tries to reproduce one of her daughter’s visions. Difficult to describe, this well-constructed drama of ideas will seem pretentious if you don’t get into it, exciting and compelling if you do; either way, the performances of the three leads are very, very good. Robert Jay Litz collaborated on the original story. (JR)

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