The Leading Man

Maybe I’m just a sucker for backstage stories about theater people as well as for Thandie Newton (Flirting, Gridlock’d), but this English picture kept me absorbed, happy, and occasionally amused despite its dubious details. Lambert Wilson plays a celebrated London playwright having an affair with an emerging actress (Newton) who’s cast in his latest play. As he tries (with little success) to cope with the rage of his wife (Anna Galiena) and the ambivalence of his three children, the play’s lead actor (Jon Bon Jovi), a notorious womanizer from the States, offers to seduce the neglected wife. Eventually the playwright is brought face-to-face with his double standard. The dubious details include the play itselfwhich seems awful, but apparently isn’t supposed to beand some trumped-up melodramatics toward the end. The uneven John Duigan (The Year My Voice Broke, Flirting, Wide Sargasso Sea, Sirens) directed from a screenplay by his sister Virginia; with Barry Humphries and David Warner. (JR)

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