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Theory of Flight

Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Richard Hawkins
Fine Line; R; 100 minutes
Cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Kenneth Branagh and Gemma Jones

In theory, this movie should fly: Helena Bonham Carter gets paired with Kenneth Branagh in a drama about disease and emotional injury; love and sexuality; healing; living; and dying. But somehow it sinks. Branagh plays an unstable artist obsessed with flying machines. After a flight/suicide attempt he gets sentenced to take care of a young woman afflicted by Lou Gehrig's disease. Jane's (Bonham Carter) death wish is to lose her virginity before sickness overwhelms her. It's a promising setup, and the actors perform commendably. Unfortunately, lackluster direction accompanied by a lukewarm and manipulative script leaves this movie grounded.

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