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Sundance review: ‘All the Beautiful Things’

First Published      Last Updated Jan 23 2014 02:36 am

"All the Beautiful Things"

U.S. Documentary

*1/2 (one and a half stars)

Director John D. Harkrider says the conversations he and best friend Barron Claiborne have in the navel-gazing documentary "All the Beautiful Things" were unscripted and unrehearsed. Alas, that's not how this pretentious and inauthentic movie lands on the audience's ears. Harkrider, a corporate lawyer and filmmaker, and Claiborne, an acclaimed celebrity photographer, meet at a loud jazz club to talk about their long friendship and the rift that tore it apart for several years -- when Barron was accused of rape, and John backed up the later-discredited story of the supposed victim. Harkrider overloads his narrative with clunky artifice: A comely bartender (Lynn Hill) as sounding board, a jazzman (Jeremy Pelt) as buddha and musical Greek chorus, and line-drawing illustrations (by Matthew Woodson) with voice re-enactments of the men's past troubles. This material might have worked as a stage play, but as a contrived "documentary" it feels phony and self-absorbed.

-- Sean P. Means

"All the Beautiful Things" screens again at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Broadway Centre Cinema 6, Salt Lake City; Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Prospector Square Theatre, Park City; and Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City.