Owen Gleiberman
November 23, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

Everything Put Together

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
85 minutes
Limited Release Date
11/02/01
performer
Justin Louis, Radha Mitchell, Megan Mullally, Alan Ruck
director
Marc Forster
distributor
Vitagraph Films
author
Adam Forgash, Marc Forster, Catherine Lloyd Burns
genre
Drama

We gave it a B-

Shot in jagged camcorder-nightmare style, Everything Put Together unfolds in an all too ironically sunlit cookie-cutter suburb, where Angie (Radha Mitchell), having lost her baby to sudden infant death syndrome, collapses into a zombielike spiral of solipsistic grief. Her reaction, in all its madness, looks ”unreasonable” only if we fail to grasp—and the film hardly leaves us room not to—that she’s sitting on a silent scream. Mitchell, who was the demure junior editor in High Art, is the rare beautiful actress who shows little or no interest in sustaining an image of glamour.

As Angie, she plays depression with a scowlish undertone of accusatory violence. Snapping at her husband for the very urgency of his sympathy, massacring a hoard of carrots by feeding them into the Cuisinart (yes, it’s that kind of movie), she balances force and reserve.

Yet Everything Put Together, despite an evocatively dark-toned DV atmosphere, is too responsible to erupt into the kind of operatic maternal horror it keeps threatening the audience with. Directed by Marc Forster, who made the upcoming Monster’s Ball, the movie is Rosemary’s Suburban Baby without a witch in sight. There is, however, a coven of sorts: It’s Angie’s chatty circle of housewife friends, who shun her the moment her baby dies. These middle-class mommies care about nothing but babies, a ”satirical” contrivance from which the film never quite recovers. B-

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