The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Where Is Kyra?

Sometimes a movie comes along that makes you wonder what the people who made it could possibly have been thinking. Where Is Kyra? is one of them. I wrote my first review for this website in 1995. In the 23 years since, I've never seen a film quite like this, nor have I ever written a review of this sort. Maybe this isn't even a review. It might be more of an explanation.

Michelle Pfeiffer plays Kyra, an unemployed divorcee whose beloved mother dies. There is no plot here, just a series of scenes in which we are intended to watch Kyra suffer. She mourns her loss. She unsuccessfully looks for a job, struggles to pay her bills, and tries to avoid eviction. She attempts to hide her problems from her new boyfriend, Doug (Keifer Sutherland). That about sums it up, except for the fact that she occasionally dresses as her mother in order to cash the dead woman's disability and pension checks at the bank.

The plotless approach was always going to be a tough sell. With no real characterization or development of the Kyra/Doug relationship, there isn't much here to keep you involved. You get the idea within the first five minutes that Kyra is struggling, then spend the next ninety watching overlong scenes that merely restate what you already know. To say that grows tedious would be an understatement.

That's not the biggest issue, though. Not by a longshot. Director Andrew Dosunmu (Mother of George) and cinematographer Bradford Young have made a bizarre choice in how they shot Where Is Kyra? The camera is usually far, far away from the characters, so that they are in the distance. That makes us feel distant from them, which is the exact opposite of what you want in an ostensibly intimate story. Even worse, the people are almost always photographed in shadow or silhouette, which makes it impossible to see them. For example, if Kyra is in a room with a lamp on a table, the lamp and the wall behind it will be crystal clear. Everything else will be dark. I'm not lying when I say this movie hurt my eyes so badly that I had to turn off the review screener I had and walk away from it for a while.

There's nothing more to say about Where Is Kyra? No fault goes to Pfeiffer and Sutherland, both of whom admirably soldier through directorial choices fundamentally designed to undermine them. Seriously, why get actors of this caliber, then ensure the audience can barely see them or the emotions their faces register?

I don't even know what kind of star rating to give this movie, so I won't assign one at all. Watching it was sheer agony. If there's any substance in the story and who knows, maybe there is the visual darkness completely prevented me from finding it. What an unpleasant experience.

Where Is Kyra? is unrated, but contains adult language, some sexual content, and brief nudity. The running time is 1 hour and 38 minutes.

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