Set in the decidedly insular world of New York publishing, "The Girl in the Book" proves to be anything but a page-turner.
This first feature by Marya Cohn, about a junior book editor whose personal biography has been shaped by a much older novelist who appropriated her innocence, comes from an interesting place but emerges as a dramatically ponderous production.
When Emily VanCamp's 28-year-old Alice is put in charge of the re-release of "Waking Eyes," a novel whose author, Milan Daneker (Michael Nyqvist), wrote from an affair he had with the then 15-year-old, the assignment brings back a lot of painful memories.
Constantly alternating between the present and that tryst between the teenage Alice (played by Ana Mulvoy-Ten) and Daneker, which appeared to have the approval of her literary agent father (Michael Cristofer), Cohn's story obviously comes from a very personal place.
But while Alice's gradual confrontation with her emotionally crippling past serves to cure her own writer's block, and the actors play the New York City cultured card without crossing over into caricature, the film itself often feels stilted and repetitive.
As a screen proposition, "The Girl in the Book" is ultimately unable to extricate itself from those written confines.
"The Girl in the Book."
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino.