Cinema: Last Chance for Lost Lives

Maggie Smith and Judy Davis spark a pair of lonely-gal dramas ,

There is old-maidishness and there is the new celibacy. And everyone knows the cure for both of these unfortunate conditions: a man. Any man. The good news about these two small movies -- The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne and High Tide -- is that they permit their heroines ambiguous triumphs over this conventional wisdom. The bad news is that neither movie dares triumph over the conventionally compassionate view of the women. Or, for that matter, over the limits of conventionally mannered filmmaking.

Judith Hearne took up permanent residence in the literary world's case load in 1955 when Novelist Brian Moore...

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