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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Pippa Lee (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee)

Starts July 1

The nearly 50-year-old well-respected and charming Pippa (Robin Wright Penn) is happily married to Herb Lee (Alan Arkin), a successful publisher and 30 years her senior. The couple have just moved from their townhouse to a retirement community in Connecticut which her husband cheerfully nicknamed “Wrinkle Village”. Pippa is reluctant and not yet ready to retire, but Herb settles in well. Soon enough he starts an affair with an even younger woman. At this point, the normally very controlled and disciplined Pippa is slipping into an identity crisis. She starts sleepwalking and behaving in a most unexpected and peculiar way. Her life seems to unravel before our eyes. In flashbacks we follow her through a childhood with a pill-popping domineering mother. During her teenage years she was attracted to lesbian parties and drug excesses. Pippa had hoped to leave the wild life behind by settling into marriage, being a dedicated mother and gracious hostess. But her children have become strangers, the old demons are calling and her true identity still lurks behind a mask. Nothing is quite as it seems. Who is she really? She turns to her young neighbour Chris Nadau (Keanu Reeves), another lost soul. Will he be able to help with her emotional issues?

This complex portrait of many lives hidden within one character has been published as a novel by Rebecca Miller who also wrote the screenplay and directed the film. She is the daughter of Arthur Miller and married to actor Daniel Day-Lewis. It is a pleasure to see an A-list cast, like Julianne Moore, Winona Ryder and rising star Blake Lively, featuring in key support roles. Linda Cohen’s choice of music underlines perfectly the different time periods of the story.

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