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Martha Horgan, a naive woman with an intellectual impairment who lives with her aunt Frances in a small town, is known for always telling the truth. She works at a dry cleaner, where her compulsive truth-telling leads her to report to the boss that another employee has been stealing from the cash register. The thief, in turn, accuses Martha, and she loses her job. In the mean time, a mysterious stranger named Mackey appears at Martha's residence after learning that Aunt Frances needs her porch repaired. Mackey is hired and becomes intimately involved with Martha... which only leads to tragedy.Written by
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Never saw the film when it was released, but it was a surprise when it was shown on cable recently. Stephen Gyllenhaal directs with great style. He is helped by the adaptation Naomi Foner crafted out of the Mary McGarry Morris' novel. This is a story about the cruelty inflicted to an innocent woman who is mentally retarded.
The film is set in California. Martha, the troubled soul at the center of the story has mental problems. She is an honest woman who tells it like it is, but because of her condition, people will always try to take advantage of her. Martha probably doesn't know what's happening with her own sexuality, yet we witness a night when she is engaging in satisfying herself in the only way she knows how.
"A Dangerous Woman" is an engrossing tale that involve us from the beginning. Martha is a complex character that in Debra Winger's interpretation shows she is a woman that has been dealt a bad hand by life. Yet, Martha is able to function by herself without any supervision. This is a confused woman that will win the viewer's heart.
Debra Winger doesn't appear often in movies these days. It's our loss! Ms. Winger projects such intelligence as she approaches her role of Martha that suddenly, the actress and the part she is playing become one.
The rest of the cast is excellent. Barbara Hershey is always a welcome addition to any film. Gabriel Byrne is credible as the handy man. David Strathairn plays a pivotal role that brings the film to an unexpected conclusion. Laurie Metcalf is only seen in a couple of scenes.
Mr. Gyllenhaal and Ms. Foner should team up more often because they work well together as proved by this film and the previous ones.
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