Wendy Lesser

Wendy Lesser is the founding editor of The Threepenny Review and writes regularly on film
for the Prospect. She is the author of The Amateur and several other books of non-fiction.

Recent Articles

In Dreams Begin Responsibilities

Many people will love Mulholland Drive , I am sure; and the fact that my admiration is mingled with profound annoyance perhaps says more about me than about the movie. It is David Lynch's best film since The Elephant Man (which remains, for me, the pinnacle of his achievement). It is better than the goofy Eraserhead and the creepy Blue Velvet, and far, far better than Lynch's terminally confused TV show Twin Peaks. It is so good that it raises unbelievably high expectations, which it then dashes to the ground in a display of bravura narcissism. "What? Me fulfill expectations? Who do you think I am?" it seems to say. Such behavior may be acceptable in a Quentin Tarantino or a Curtis Hanson or a Joel Coen, but in David Lynch, who is more talented than most of his peers combined, it is disappointing. The movie is nearly two and a half hours long, and it is often deliberately slow, in the manner we have come to expect from Lynch (the unzipping of a purse, for instance, may take an...

Robots and Actors

S teven Spielberg's A.I. is neither the worst nor the best movie he has ever made, but it is certainly the strangest. Our initial tendency is to attribute this to the involvement of Stanley Kubrick, who collaborated with Spielberg on the project for many years (though when he was given complete control after Kubrick's death, Spielberg rewrote the entire script and directed it on his own). But I think the strangeness comes from somewhere else: specifically, from deep inside Steven Spielberg. A.I. is a much more disturbing movie than anything this silly has a right to be, and I think that's because Spielberg has used it--unwittingly, I suspect--to reveal the darkest corners of his own unconscious. The unconscious is a notoriously disorganized place, and its unacknowledged influence may explain why the movie finally comes across as such a mess. The plot, as perhaps everybody knows by now, involves a little boy who is really a robot. The Pinocchio overtones are made explicit in the movie...