A self-consciously postmodern triptych reconsidering the subject of its title, writer-director Brian Pera’s “Woman’s Picture” takes too long to reach dramatically satisfying observations about its three female characters, caught in classic melodramatic situations. Pic sometimes feels as if it’s in suspended animation, with characters on conceptual marionette strings — which could be interesting in a brilliant filmmaker’s hands. Pera might reach that level in future work, but this project’s sheer unevenness will make it a hard sell with critics and auds alike.
The pic’s three parts are titled with the names of the heroines in focus, starting with “Ingrid,” about a woman (Calpernia Addams) who’s had a sex-change operation and is visiting her mom (Sally Stover) for the first time; possible dramatic fireworks, though, never really ignite. Fassbinder meets Sirk in second episode, “Loretta,” in which a meek motel maid (Amy Lavere) is mistaken for a call girl by a client, leading to role-playing with a slightly surreal edge. By far the best section, “Miriam” is a showcase for Ann Magnuson (at the top of her game) as a home-shopping-network host whose best days are behind her.