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The Independent Culture

This Californian psychodrama wants to capitalise on the excitement generated by the Spellbound documentary, and gets itself into a right old muddle. Richard Gere, at his most insufferably self-regarding, plays a professor of religious studies who believes his daughter (Flora Cross) might be a genius at something more than spelling bees, and tries her out on the sacred mysteries of the Kabbalah. Has Madonna been told?

Meanwhile, his teenage son (Max Minghella) flirts with the Hare Krishnas, and his depressed wife (Juliette Binoche) goes sneaking around other people's homes. Co-directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel drift towards mystical solemnity as each family member searches for "meaning" in their life, but what's up on screen looks like vacuous self-indulgence.

I had a pressing question of my own: how could this be by the same guys who made that marvellous thriller The Deep End?

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