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'A Beautiful Now' is a tedious dance with death

'A Beautiful Now' is a tedious dance with death
Abigail Spencer stars as a troubled dancer in "A Beautiful Now." (Monterey Media)

Dancer Romy, played by Abigail Spencer, thinking herself aged out of her profession, locks herself in her bathroom on her birthday in writer-director Daniela Amavia's "A Beautiful Now." When friend David (Cheyenne Jackson) sends up the bat signal, her friends converge at her door to spend a night reminiscing, bickering, pleading and hashing out their differences in the hallway while Romy threatens suicide.

The group is intertwined through complicated breakups and makeups, managing to come together despite all the times they've loved and left one another. Through multiple flashbacks, the group reckons with their past and with Romy's present state.

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The ambitious but unwieldy screenplay suffers from a lack of cohesion and loses control of the nonlinear memories and fantasies of seven people, with some of the characters' motivations also lost in the shuffle. The moments of connection and collision tend toward the melodramatic, rather than the grounded and specific.

There are some beautifully shot moments of Romy's dance career, though the rest of the film's ad hoc group therapy session is dim, dark and dull. But the real problem is the suspension of disbelief required for the central conceit that the ethereal, delicate, passionate and vivacious Romy thinks herself so over the hill she's ready to end it all. Besides, with dedicated friends like these, why so melancholy?

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'A Beautiful Now'

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

MPAA rating: R, for language, sexual material and a brief bloody image.

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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