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The Young Girl and the Monsoon

Reviewed at Westside Pavilion Cinemas, L.A., March 31, 2000. (In L.A. Independent Film Festival --- competing.) Running time: 90 MIN.

Reviewed at Westside Pavilion Cinemas, L.A., March 31, 2000. (In L.A. Independent Film Festival — competing.) Running time: 90 MIN.

With: Terry Kinney, Ellen Muth, Mili Avital, Diane Venora, Tom Guinee.

It’s not incidental that James Ryan, writer-director of “The Young Girl and the Monsoon,” is also the scribe of new tome “Screenwriting From the Heart: The Technique of the Character-Driven Screenplay.” While his film is informed by a character sense, it’s hardly matched by a sense of story, drama or greater purpose. Proof positive that a character-driven script isn’t enough, project — boasting one of the finest Web sites for any current indie pic — promises far more than is actually delivered, and will have a hard time igniting marketplace or critical interest.

First act adopts strained flashback approach establishing Hank (Terry Kinney) as a respected photojournalist whose penchant for covering dangerous stories abroad is one of several complaints from his daughter, Constance (Ellen Muth), whose struggles with being a young teen and living with Dad are expressed with mucho irritating whining. Hank’s love problems with g.f. Erin (Mili Avital) aren’t effectively developed, so that his personal and professional crises never crescendo in the manner Ryan clearly intends. Tech work is mediocre, with many shots held in ill-fitting closeup.

The Young Girl and the Monsoon

Production: A Monsoon production. Produced by James Ryan. Executive producers, Richard Mehrlich, Beverly Mehrlich. Directed, written by James Ryan.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor), Ben Wolf; editor, John David Allen; music, David Carbonara; production designer, Tina Manfredi; art director, Sonia Alio; costume designer, Pascal Gosset.

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