Thirteen Conversations About One Thing

Movie Review by Ania Kalinowska

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, John Turturro, Alan Arkin, Clea DuVall, Amy Irving

Director: Jill Sprecher

Consider, if you will, a quilt, sewn up from little bits of material that only together create one large blanket. This movie is a quilt. There are many small but personal stories in THIRTEEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING, and destiny is the magic thread that weaves them beautifully together, so that what results is the bigger, colourful picture of life.

Talked of here is the broad subject of fate (or so I think!). Take a chance meeting between strangers, for example. Who is to say that a fleeting friend or foe has no big influence on your life? We are usually too absorbed in things we are familiar with to notice that unfamiliar strangers too can cause the most havoc, or happiness, within us. If you stopped to think of the smallest encounter with someone who changed you or even your time in some way, you would consider the possibility of fate boiling down to the choices that people make, and how they affect the choices, and lives, of others. You must admit – it’s an interesting view.

If all this sounds like time wasting gibberish, fear not. The foundation of such a potentially ungrounded storyline would guarantee it to flop, since it’s tough to put the theories at work here to everyday practice, but the surprise is that it succeeds – and very well I might add. Whether you see the movie in a complex way or not, it is impossible for you to walk away and totally ignore its repercussions. It’s a tough subject to crack in a wholly intelligent way. Maybe that is because fate itself has eluded the human race for eternity, it is as common to mull over it, as it is to argue over it. We all have, at some stage, had to make up our minds about destiny.

Expect this typically indie film to be, well, 100% indie. And because it is, it plays by its own rules every step of the way. Thoroughly innovative, the script and the cast are great (John Turturro is a failsafe bet but more amazingly, Matthew McConaughey can act!), but what ultimately makes all this succeed is the directing and editing. The stories and characters are all so different and yet they happen to be compatible enough to be criss-crossed together, joining up like that quilt I mentioned, in just the right places. Pay attention though; despite the fact that these are skilful plots, skilfully interwoven and skilfully executed, miss one link and you might have your quilt tearing at the seams.

THIRTEEN CONVERSATIONS set in a light and contemporary tone, is an enlightening film that makes you ponder. Although not everyone’s cup of tea, it’s that ‘doesn’t hurt to watch even if you don’t normally like’ this type of (indie) flick.

5 out of 6 stars

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