"Anna" is a showcase for Sally Kirkland who tears into the role of a neglected Czechoslovakian actress with all the passion of a neglected American actress who has no time to waste reserving her energy. Sally gets down and dirty with this part and she has the artistic courage to sacrifice her own good looks in order to create a more believable portrait of Anna, who has both good and bad days.
Life does things to people, and Sally doesn't hesitate to show the extremes. In some close-ups, as when a beloved old teacher brings her to tears, she resembles a small child fearful of being swallowed by the world's promises and its lies. In others, as when Anna realises that her protégé has borrowed her life story and claimed it as her own, her rage is limitless and we share the agony of the older woman, who has no resources left on which to draw, not even memory.
"Oscar nomination" is written all over Sally Kirkland's star performance, and yet she is a real ensemble player, too, for her sequences with model Paulina Porizkova and Robert Fields would be nowhere near as moving without a powerful interplay between the characters. Yurek Bogayevicz directs with a sensitive understanding of the realities of the acting profession and Agnieska Holland's screenplay offers a sharp perspective on the generational conflicts between women. The film has been compared to both "all About Eve" and "Sunset Boulevard", but it differs from both in significant respects. The expatriate theme as well as the intense examination of trust lost and trust found, contribute to make "Anna" a fresh entry in the catalogue of show business sagas.
Copyright 1987 Monica Sullivan
"Movie Magazine International" Movie Review Index
"Movie Magazine International" Home Page