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May 2007


By Nicole Schmuelian


Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

Writer/Director: Hal Hartley

Cast: Parker Posey, Jeff Goldblum, James Urbaniak, Liam Aiken, Thomas Jay Ryan

Magnolia Pictures




Hal Hartley’s offbeat style is apparent in the soon to be cult classic Fay Grim. Parker Posey exudes confidence and fortitude as she goes in search of her husband, after CIA agent Fullbright (Jeff Goldblum) informs her of the new information they have just uncovered. The film takes place ten years after her husband disappears in the prequel Henry Fool, (1998). Henry, once wanted for murder, is now being charged for having top-secret information on governments around the world. The governments of France, Germany and the United States are seeking after the information in the diaries, which are known, as the “confessions.” Hartley turns the film into an exciting international espionage and a parody on foreign affairs.

It begins in Queens and spans to Paris then Istanbul. In Paris, Fay struts a long black coat with practically nothing underneath channeling Le Femme Fatale. Spies from different countries come to her in search of the “confessions” and threaten her life but she is invincible. The film breaks conventional boundaries especially in the rhythm. The execution in dialogue is slow and unnatural which adds to the quirkiness of the film. Even the way the actors are directed to disappear then reappear in front of the camera while they are speaking, works in accord with the film’s tone.

Parker Posey embodies Fay Grim, and it seems as if the character was designed specifically for her. Jeff Goldblum’s approach to his character’s eccentricities is subtler, but nonetheless in this film, Agent Fullbright peculiarity slowly surface.

The end leaves a huge cliffhanger, which leads us to believe there will be a third film. Hal Hartley confirmed the suspicion; he is hoping to make a third film, so he can further explore the Grim family.