Pamela Drury (Griffiths) is a successful, award-winning writer who can't help but wonder what life would have been like if she'd never broken up with her long-ago boyfriend Robert (Roberts). Consumed with regret, she one day runs into herself in a parallel universe as a married mother of three. And the two Pams swap places. Now she's married to Robert, coping with three precocious kids (Stone, Loseby, Sullivan) and loving every minute of it. To a point.
Karmel's sharply written screenplay tackles the subject with wit and insight, meaningfully examining Pam's disappointments and fantasies. As she begins to realise that she needs to get on with life as it is, without worrying about what might have been, the film and characters find a real resonance, despite a few cheesy plot turns. Griffiths is, as usual, superb in the role. And in a supporting cast of gifted naturals, the standout is Winton as a new man in her life. On the other hand, Karmel's direction isn't as clever as her writing; the film looks like a bad sitcom at times, cartoonish and awkward. Which keeps us from ever buying into it completely. This is a real pity when everything else about the film is so solid and, yes, essential.
[15--themes, language] 7.Jul.00
US release 7.Apr.00; UK release 18.Aug.00
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