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Simply the Worst: Jane Campion’s “In the Cut”

Simply the Worst: Jane Campion's "In the Cut"

After establishing herself internationally with 1989’s Sweetie and then breaking out big in America with The Piano in 1993, New Zealander Jane Campion directed a string of arrestingly conceived if ill-received projects, including an adaptation of Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady and the Kate Winslet–starring whatsit Holy Smoke. But neither of these was as seemingly reviled as In the Cut, an impression supported, however unscientifically, by its critical and audience ratings on Rotten Tomatoes of 33% and 36%, respectively. When I saw the film upon its release, I fell in line with the consensus, yet also found the movie entrancing and affecting at moments, enough so that I later felt compelled to purchase it on DVD, not something I do lightly. Redeeming the film in full isn’t part of the plan—In the Cut remains upon repeated viewings something of a mess—but it’s still a fascinating work to examine. Read Kristi Mitsuda’s entry in Reverse Shot’s “Simply the Worst” symposium.

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