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A Master Builder Movie

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A MASTER BUILDER Wallace Shawn and Lisa Joyce
Bob Vergara/Abramorama

Jonathan Demme turns his extreme close-up lens to an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play, with mixed results. A pet project of Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, the movie stars Shawn (who also wrote the script) as a philandering, arrogant architect confronted by a seductive mystery woman from his past (Lisa Joyce). It doesn’t attain the highs of Shawn and Gregory’s My Dinner With Andre, but the movie has a jittery intimacy that is appealing. And through their memorable performances, Joyce and Julie Hagerty (as Shawn’s all-seeing wife) prove master builders of vivid female characters. B