The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

Rated 3.0

A picture-perfect wife (Robin Wright Penn) moves with her elderly husband (Alan Arkin) to a Connecticut retirement community, where she begins to fear the onset of a creeping nervous breakdown. Writer-director Rebecca Miller again indulges her penchant for overstated symbolism (inherited from her father, playwright Arthur), but it’s more subdued here than in her earlier films, and leavened by a wryness her humorless father could never have touched (for once in a Miller film, the chuckles are generally intentional). Her script is loose and discursive, but with well-observed vignettes, and her actors (including Maria Bello, Winona Ryder, Mike Binder, Keanu Reeves and Shirley Knight) rise to them, welcoming the opportunity. Blake Lively is especially good (and a good physical match) as Penn’s younger self.