Diane: Directed by Kent Jones. With Mary Kay Place, Jake Lacy, Estelle Parsons, Andrea Martin. Diane fills her days helping others and desperately attempting to bond with her drug-addicted son. As these pieces of her existence begin to fade, she finds herself confronting memories she’d sooner forget than face.
“For me, thereu0026#39;s a limited appeal to a movie such as u0026quot;Diane,u0026quot; which so authentically represents the life of an ordinary woman. Nothing extraordinary happens. She visits the same places and the same people over and over again, almost always either talking about her health and relationship problems or those of others in her circle. If they run out of current shortcomings to discuss, they dredge up past ones. Repeated use of the same camera positions for the same spaces reinforces this repetitive circling, too. When Diane is looking for her drug-addled son again, for instance, the camera again frames her through a doorway from the kitchen. Thereu0026#39;s a telling scene, where one of Dianeu0026#39;s friends searches her mind for another topic to discuss when Diane refuses to talk about her son temporarily. Eventually, they share recollections of the food of the restaurants that have occupied the space theyu0026#39;re currently in. Itu0026#39;s one of the few moments in the movie when theyu0026#39;re not gossiping over their clique.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eMary Kay Place is fine in the titular role, which garnered her some talk of an Oscar nomination that never came, but u0026quot;Dianeu0026quot; is largely an inversion of the usual parts given to such a character actor–making a protagonist of the mother in a drug-addiction drama, or of the friend in another drama about a cancer patient, etc. I appreciate that the filmmakers didnu0026#39;t resort to the usual introduction of a new romance to alleviate this dullness, though. Indeed, her past extramarital affair is largely glossed over in a sort of anti-climax. Besides, Dianeu0026#39;s life is already overfilled with interpersonal relationships. The one somewhat interesting activity she manages to do alone, for she canu0026#39;t even drink by herself for long before her friends show up to take her home, is writing in her diary. Itu0026#39;s a pastime that stands in stark contrast to the rest of the routine of this highly interdependent character. Thereu0026#39;s little to write about, either, besides everyone getting sick and eventually dying. Sure, itu0026#39;s respectably true to life, but it can be bad enough to already be living some variation of this narrative; to see it on the screen, may make such quiet desperation worse.”