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A Map of the World (Scott Elliott) 1999

A Map of the World finds Sigourney Weaver as Alice, a school nurse who stands accused of child abuse following an unfortunate accident that leaves her best friend's (Julianne Moore) daughter drowned while in Alice's care. The film occasionally descends into movie of the week territory (particularly during the ending's Voiceover narration), but for most of its duration manages to avoid the trap.

Weaver's Alice is quite interesting. She scoffs at the charges, since she feels she did nothing wrong. She initially looks at her jail stay as a vacation from her two children. Her character's attitude diffuses many of the melodramatic aspects of the events on display.

Moore turns in a terrific performance, as always, in what is a small role. One scene in particular, in which Moore and Weaver collide at night near the pond where Moore's daughter died is a powerhouse. David Strathairn, playing Alice's husband, does what he can with an underwritten role...

The film is not very well directed, but the sheer drama of the events carries the film to watchability. The script is uneven, but it works more often than it doesn't

***

September, 2001

Jeremy Heilman