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NINE LIVES

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Director and screenwriter Rodrigo Garcia presents nine brief snapshots in the lives of nine Los Angeles women, episodes that run in real time and are captured in a single take. Some are key moments in life -- Kathy Baker awaits her mastectomy; Amy Brenneman attends a funeral. Other segments show how the everyday can be just as heartbreaking, such as when Elpidia Carrillo spends another day in prison, or the teen-aged Amanda Seyfried balances her parents' passive-aggressive tendencies. None of these stories -- all of which find women on the cusp of crisis -- resolves outright, and two or three just barely intersect. Yet despite their ragged edges, these little one-acts feel satisfying. Nine Lives just skirts being gimmicky -- it's salvaged by surprisingly dynamic camerawork and its stellar cast: Other stories are fronted by Holly Hunter, Robin Wright Penn, Glenn Close, Sissy Spacek and Lisa Gay Hamilton. (AH)

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