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Rating: NNNNN*SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION (Fred Schepisi, 1993) is theatrical on so many levels that it's best appreciated in a.


Rating: NNNNN


*SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION (Fred Schepisi, 1993) is theatrical on so many levels that it’s best appreciated in a theatre, in the dark, surrounded by strangers to whom, after the film ends, you can contemplate being inextricably linked. Adapted from the hit play by John Guare that coined the title phrase and starring Stockard Channing in the role she created, Six Degrees embellishes the true story of a gay black schemer (Will Smith) who insinuates himself into the Central Park home of an art dealer (Donald Sutherland) and his wife (Channing) by pretending to be the son of Sidney Poitier. Though Smith lived to regret demanding a stand-in for the male smooch (on the advice of Denzel Washington, no less), his rookie performance shows such depth and dexterity, you gotta wonder why he hasn’t done any serious acting since. The rest of the cast fill in the script’s many shades of grey: Ian McKellen, Bruce Davison, Mary Beth Hurt, Anthony Michael Hall and Heather Graham (proving here, as she did in 1989’s Drugstore Cowboy, that she can do more than shag Austin Powers). It’s a film full of brainy ideas, but the performances, especially Channing’s soul-searching society wife, tell the real story. NNNN (January 22-23, Revue)

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