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Week of July 17, 2002

Sunshine State. John Sayles. Against the backdrop of a beachfront town in Florida besieged by developers, two women (Angela Bassett and Edie Falco) each come to terms with their own pasts and the expectations their parents placed upon them. Meanwhile, a half-dozen-or-so other stories are going on around them in Altmanesque fashion. The past -- the nation's, the town's, the individual characters' -- is part of the film's larger theme. One older black man is partially nostalgic for segregation. Local chamber-of-commerce booster Francine (Mary Steenburgen) is busy trying to create a tradition from the state's immigrant history, but is stymied by the unfortunate truths of historical genocide and slavery. Youngster Terrell (Alexander Lewis), adopted by his dead father's aunt, is a good kid with a dangerously delinquent side -- can he go right, or is he similarly doomed? And then of course there's the whole past-versus-future dynamic of "redevelopment." There's plenty of dry humor to leaven the proceedings, and Falco gives an Oscar-worthy performance. Opens July 19 at the Plaza Frontenac. (LYT)

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