The Private Lives of Pippa Lee movie review: What happens when girls gone wild no longer wanna go wild? They grow up, start a family, retire to suburban Connecticut and have fabulous hair! At least that's what Pippa Lee (Robin Wright) did. She's the seemingly perfect wife of a semi-retired publishing magnate (Alan Arkin), who harbors a rocky past haunted by a pill-popping mom (Maria Bello) and hard-partying days (young Pippa is played by Gossip Girl star Blake Lively). When Pippa's tony suburban life starts to unravel—and an attractive younger neighbor (Keanu Reeves) moves in—Pippa's past and present collide, leaving her to wonder how much of a wreck she really is.
The buzz: It's been an interesting year for Wright. After two turbulent decades with Sean Penn—including several botched divorce plans—the actress filed for divorce this past summer (for real!) and dropped the Penn from her name. Her career, though, is on an upswing. The long-admired actress is finally hitting her stride with four movies out this year, and the showcase role in Pippa could bring her the widespread acclaim she deserves.
The verdict: Wright turns in a rueful performance that's lined with anguish but shines with levity. She takes what could have been a huge downer of a character and manages to channel something strangely light, optimistic, even funny. It's no easy task, considering the young Pippa becomes a runaway and a drugged-out party girl. The film was written and directed by Rebecca Miller (The Ballad of Jack and Rose), and although it's intriguingly complex, it's not always believable—you don't really buy Lively as a young Wright, making the transition from young to adult Pippa jarring. There's also an ineptly comedic cameo by Winona Ryder as Pippa's unstable friend. Still, Wright displays a captivating subtlety that keeps you guessing what's going on beneath that perfect veneer.
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