Film Review: Passion of Mind (2000)



Hollywood knows how to ruin promising plot concept, but few times it is done so thoroughly like in the case of Passion of Mind, 2000 drama directed by Alain Berliner. Protagonist is Martha Marie (played by Demi Moore), widowed book editor who lives with her two children at picturesque country estate in Provence. Each night she has a recurring dream in which she is “Marty” Talridge, successful literary agent in Manhattan. The dream ends when Marty goes to sleep only to wake up as Marie. Both women remember details of their alternative lives which creates identity crisis since both start to wonder which one of them is real and which is imagined. Both women also visit psychotherapists in order to deal with their condition. Things get further complicated when they meet attractive men. Marie meets charming writer William Granther (played by Stellan Skarsgård) while Marty meets quiet accountant Aaron Reilly (played by William Fichtner). Soon the parallel romance creates jealousy among two men and the line between two parallel world begins to blur, endangering mental stability of Marty/Marie.

The concept behind Passion of Mind is intriguing, although not particularly original, because it could be found in book by Zhuangzi, famous Chinese Taoist philosopher who lived more than 2400 years ago. It still could be used as basis for good psychological drama that explores perception of reality and true nature of someone’s identity. Unfortunately, the script co-written by David Field and Ronald Bass (the latter best known for his “Oscar”-winning work on Rain Man) reduces the intriguing as nothing more than an excuse for banal romantic plot which is delivered to audience twice. The plot’s resolution is easy to predict but before that happens even the most experienced and the most patient viewers would have to endure series of annoying cliches. Demi Moore, despite later being nominated for Razzie for Worst Actress, does solid job in her double role and prolific character actor William Fichtner makes the best of the rare opportunity to play romantic lead. However, Alain Berliner, Belgian director who became famous for transgender drama Ma vien en rose, appears completely disinterested for the story and characters and doesn’t do anything to alleviate problems with script. Because of this, Passion of Mind represents too much of challenge for almost any viewer’s patience.

RATING: 2/10 (-)

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