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Playing in Peoria

Playing in Peoria — Citizens of the small town share their reactions to ”The Crying Game”

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Sure, the critics and the Academy love The Crying Game. But now that this archetypal art-house film has made it into multiplexes everywhere, we were wondering: How will it play in Peoria? So we went there — specifically, to the Willow Knolls 14 — and polled Peorians as they exited the film.

*FAITH RIGGINS 42, elementary school teacher: ”We heard so many good things about it. We just kept thinking the good parts were still to come. They never did. Now I’m really starting to wonder about the friend who told us to see it.”

*TOM VACHON, 45, engineer: ”Between this movie and Fatal Attraction, it really makes me glad I’m not single.”

*ANN ZIGLER, 32, medical imaging technician: ”The story line was great, Stephen Rea was wonderful, and (Jaye) Davidson was phenomenal. I’d recommend it to friends — not my parents.”

*RICH RIGGINS, 44, laborer: ”I thought it was sickening. We didn’t walk out, but we did go and smoke a cigarette in the middle of it.”

*SHELLEY BURNS, 50, Realtor: ”I think we’ve moved beyond the narrow-mindedness that would keep people from enjoying the film. Life’s about all types. You don’t have to be a part of that lifestyle to learn about it and appreciate it.”

*KAY MCWHIRTER, 37, physician’s receptionist: ”Granted, we’re pretty conservative, but we just thought it was horrible. If it had gotten more into the homosexual stuff, we would have left.”

*TINA BOOTZ, 37, homemaker: ”It was hard to understand parts of it because of the accents. We went because of all the nominations it got, but it was so dark.”

*JEAN LEE, 45, college publications director: ”The characters weren’t stereotypical, which was a welcome change from a lot of movies we’ve seen. I didn’t catch on to the plot twist until it happened, and then I thought, ‘Well, of course.”’

*PEGGY VACHON, 38, homemaker: ”It was great. I felt like we were on a roller-coaster ride: Once you thought you had one twist figured out, you’d fly around another corner and be surprised again. It was great intrigue. By the way, was the part of Dil played by a man or a woman?”