Washington Square

Brevitas

Jennifer Jason Leigh is perfectly cast in Agnieszka Holland's adaptation of Henry James's novel. An awkward young woman starved for affection is caught between a cynical, distant father and a spirited but selfish young suitor. Holland's camera work and sense of period is engaging throughout, and her trademark comic acuity leavens the somber arc of the story. Eventually, though, Leigh asserts herself just long enough to break your heart. Like its heroine, the film misses true magnificence, but its intelligent cast and sensitive story-telling are more than enough to recommend it.