As a title, "A Woman, A Part" both reveals and obfuscates the themes of the film, written and directed by Elisabeth Subrin. Maggie Siff stars as Anna, a TV actress on the verge of a breakthrough or a breakdown; a woman who is very unhappy with that specific part.
Ready to throw in the towel on her acting career, she beats a hasty retreat out of L.A., returning to her old apartment in New York and reconnecting with her long-lost friends and theater collaborators, Isaac (John Ortiz) and Kate (Cara Seymour). The film itself is not just about one woman and one part, but about three people, grappling with their pasts, presents and futures, and provides three fantastic parts for three incredible actors.
There is also a part for Anna in Isaac's new play that is uncomfortably familiar and it reopens old wounds, reveals intentions and blows the lid off long-repressed confrontations.
The film is an astute character study that is analytical but never unemotional. Subrin has a background in experimental shorts and video art, and moments of surreality pepper "A Woman, A Part" but never eclipse the thrust of the characters' journey. Siff is wonderful, but Ortiz and Seymour nearly steal the movie out from under her. For Subrin, it's not just a promising entry into the world of narrative filmmaking but already a fine achievement.
'A Woman, A Part'
Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica