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'Passion of Mind'

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 26, 2000


    'Passion of Mind' Demi Moore doesn't know dream from reality. (Paramount Classic)
In which Demi Moore gets arty! Now that's something to see. Well, actually, it's not. In this film directed by Alain Berliner, who made "Ma Vie en Rose," and scripted by Ron Bass and David Field, she plays a woman unable to tell dream from reality. Is she Marie, a widowed mother of two who lives in the French countryside, or is she Marty, a rather dour literary agent who rules her roost in Manhattan? After spending the day as one, she'll fall asleep and wake up as the other. Unable to solve this psychologically bizarre dilemma, she seeks help from the people in both lives. Of course, they think they're real. Funny: at no point, does Marie/Marty (or anyone she talks to) think to simply pick up the telephone and call her other personality on the phone. Whichever one isn't there – why that would be the dream character. But nooooooo, this is one of those psychological romantic dramas where fantasy and reality are indistinguishable. We don't get to ask those questions, do we? Marie or Marty is going to have to choose between her lives because two men are very interested in her: the sensitive William Leeds (Stellan Skarsgard) who courts Marie with a rather (to my mind) creepy slickness, and Aaron Reilly (William Fichtner), a businessman who lives in New York and shows tenacious interest. The movie becomes infuriating as it switches, almost mechanically, from one life to the other. And the movie's attempts, as we proceed further, to make light of its own premise don't help. It's clear Berliner, Bass and Black have no intentions of solving any questions until the final punchline. We're just going to have to sit and wait. Trust me: when all is explained, you won't feel enlightened; just vaguely let down.

PASSION OF MIND (PG-13, 105 minutes) – Contains sexual situations.


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