A children’s author (Jeff Bridges) hires a teenage summer assistant (Jon Foster) who promptly begins an affair with the author’s estranged wife (Kim Basinger). Written and directed by Tod Williams, based on the first third of John Irving’s novel A Widow for One Year
, the film is solemn and respectful—but it’s also ponderous, leaden and unpleasant. Bridges is good, Foster is drab, and Basinger is nearly catatonic, but the biggest drawbacks are the unsavory overtones (necrophilia, incest, etc.) and the essential ugliness of the characters—the book (which I haven’t read) is reportedly about redemption, so perhaps Williams stopped too soon: These people remain unredeemed and appear unredeemable. Williams compensates for the characters’ lack of sympathy by spicing things up with plenty of artsy-fartsy soft-core sex.