Parallel Lives (film)
|Written by||Gisela Bernice
|Directed by||Linda Yellen|
|Music by||Patrick Seymour|
|Country of origin||United States|
Kathy Zotnowski (associate producer)
Tracy McGrath (line producer)
|Running time||105 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Showtime Networks
|Original release||August 14, 1994|
Parallel Lives is a 1994 American made-for-television mystery-drama film written, directed and produced by Linda Yellen which returns some actors and similar patterns of Yellen's previous work, Chantilly Lace.
The film features an all-star cast: James Belushi, LeVar Burton, Lindsay Crouse, James Brolin, Jack Klugman, Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore (in his final film role), Ally Sheedy, Robert Wagner, Patricia Wettig, JoBeth Williams, Jill Eikenberry, Gena Rowlands and Treat Williams.
A college reunion turns into a tangled web of passion, romance and intrigue as old friends and enemies catch up with each other's lives.
- James Belushi as Nick Dimas
- Liza Minnelli as Stevie Merrill
- James Brolin as Professor Spencer Jones
- Helen Slater as Elsa Freedman
- LeVar Burton as Dr. Franklin Carter
- Jack Klugman as Senator Robert Ferguson
- Patricia Wettig as Rebecca Ferguson Stone
- Ben Gazzara as Charlie Duke
- Mira Sorvino as Matty Derosa
- Lindsay Crouse as Una Pace
- JoBeth Williams as Winnie Winslow
- Ally Sheedy as Louise
- Paul Sorvino as Ed Starling
- Matthew Perry as Willie Morrison
- Jill Eikenberry as Lula Sparks
- Treat Williams as Peter Barnum
- Dudley Moore as Imaginary Friend / President Andrews
- Gena Rowlands as Francie Pomerantz
- Robert Wagner as the sheriff
- Michael O'Rourke as Kirk O'Brien
- Alan Feinstein as Dan Merrill
The movie was developed by Yellen with the assistance of the Sundance Institute. As with Chantilly Lace, it uses "guided improvisations" with the actors, after receiving some general character outlines, free to improvise.
The movie received mixed reviews. New York Times critic John Leonard argued: "'Parallel Lives' is injured in its lightness of being by Yellen's added structure. But until it sinks in murky narrative waters, it's a marvel of raw edges and wild wit and surprise cunning, of craft that goes up like a kite to catch some lightning." The Variety critic Ray Loynd wrote: "When the movie works best (...), this is a movie that tends to make The Big Chill look sodden."
On the other hand, Lynne Heffley opened her review for the Los Angeles Times with these words: "From the sublime to the ridiculous... and the ridiculous has the edge in 'Parallel Lives.' Jerry Roberts in his Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors defined the film as "a cattle call at the actors unemployment line" and film critic Lewis Beale in his video review for the New York Daily News claimed that: "Linda Yellen's film wants to be hip, moving and Robert Altmanesque (overlapping dialogue and an improvisational feel), but it's simply tedious and stupid."
- Roy Loynd (11 August 1994). "Parallel Lives". Variety. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
- John Leonard (1 August 1994). "The Unmaking of a President". New York Magazine. p. 55.
- Ken Tucker (12 August 1994). "TV Review: Parallel Lives". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
- Lynne Heffley (13 August 1994). "TV Review : 'Parallel Lives' Draws Uneven Line Between Fun, Banality". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
- Jerry Roberts (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors , Volume 1. Scarecrow Press. p. 636. ISBN 978-0-8108-6138-1.
- Lewis Beale (9 March 1995). "Video Reviews". New York Daily News. Retrieved 17 November 2011.