USA Today - 05/09/2003
"...The movie raises interesting questions about the power exerted in relationships and the amount of control a person can or should have over another..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 05/09/2003
"...LaBute has that rarest of attributes, a distinctive voice. You know one of his scenes at once....He also has a distinctive view of life....It is the surface normality of the characters and their worlds that is scary..."
Rolling Stone - 05/29/2003
"...[LaBute's] ideas on art and humanity will make you hoot, holler, curse the actors, damn LaBute and argue like hell with your date. What else do you want from a movie'..."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/16/2003
"...LaBute, adapting his 2001 play, entwines the four in some skillfully intense dialogue..."
Los Angeles Times - 05/09/2003
"...Rudd is a consistent charmer..."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 05/01/2003
"...LaBute is one of the most gifted writers to emerge over the last decade, and THE SHAPE OF THINGS is full of tantalizing ideas..."
Total Film - 12/01/2003
"...Let's just say it's spectacular and a repeat viewing confirms just how cleverly -- not to mention cheekily -- the writer/director clicks all his pieces into place..."
Sight and Sound - 12/31/2003
"Rachel Weisz's brilliantly layered performance as Evelyn -- barbed, vehement and oddly sorrowful -- keeps all options open."
Rachel Weisz, Paul Rudd, Gretchen Mol, and Frederick Weller star in Neil LaBute's adaptation of his own stage play, which also featured all four actors. The film focuses on the unlikely romance between precocious art grad student Evelyn (Weisz) and shy English undergrad Adam (Rudd). As their relationship progresses, the unhip, bookish Adam is brought out of his shell by the spontaneous, opinionated Evelyn. Soon Adam is losing weight, wearing contact lenses instead of glasses, and dressing more fashionably than before. However, Adam's changes begin to affect his longtime friendship with the optimistic, attractive Jenny (Mol) and the cocky, smug Philip (Weller), who are now engaged. Soon the four become involved in a variety of uncomfortable entanglements, ultimately leading to a disturbing revelation.
A welcome return to form for LaBute after the period-piece detour of POSSESSION, THE SHAPE OF THINGS finds the provocative director-screenwriter back in the darkly comedic vein of his first two films, IN THE COMPANY OF MEN and YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS. Whereas those two movies focused on the ruthless and manipulative side of the male psyche, this film features a woman carrying out the same sorts of questionable acts of cruelty. As LaBute's film goes from sweet to sadistic, it brings up larger issues involving art and relationships, but these points never detract from the fine ensemble performances or the intriguing central story. Shot in California, the sunny backdrop of THE SHAPE OF THINGS works wonderfully as the counterpoint to the film's shady proceedings and allows the stage-play roots of the tale to unfold in a different light.
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