Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002)



Critic Consensus: Uneven, but a keenly observed and well-acted film about three women's lives.

Personal Velocity: Three Portraits Photos

Movie Info

A tale of three women who have reached a turning point in their lives. Delia is a spirited, working-class woman from a small town in New York who leaves her abusive husband and sets out on a journey to reclaim the power she has lost. Greta is a sharp, spunky editor who is rotten "with ambition" despite her own intentions. To spite the hated infidel ways of her father, she has settled into a complacent relationship and is struggling (not too hard) with issues of fidelity to her kind but unexciting husband. Finally Paula, who ran away from home and got pregnant, is now in a relationship she doesn't want. She's a troubled young woman who takes off on a journey with a hitchhiker after a strange, fateful encounter on a New York street.

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Kyra Sedgwick
as Delia Shunt
Parker Posey
as Greta Herskowitz
Wallace Shawn
as Mr. Gelb
Seth Gilliam
as Vincent
Ron Leibman
as Avram Herskovitz
Nick Cubbler
as John Wurtzle
Nicole Murphy
as May Wurtzle
Sarah Morf
as Claire Wurtzle
Laura Finelli
as Young Delia
Dean Strange
as Norwegian Man
Michi Barall
as Felicia Wong
Tim Hopper
as Mr, Brown, the Adventist
Maria Elena Ramirez
as News Reporter
Susan Blommaert
as Mrs. Toron
Peter Galman
as Man in His 50's
Tony Osso
as Waiter
Brian Bell
as Playwright
Bill Burns
as Court Steps Reporter
Jennifer Lent
as Young Fay
Lynne Anne Hart
as Mylert's Mother
Eileen Stancage
as Old Woman
Corinne Brownsell
as Dunkin Donuts Cashier
Eleanor Niel
as Girl on Swing
Stephi Licciardi
as Girl on Swing
Samantha Steinel
as Girl on Swing
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Critic Reviews for Personal Velocity: Three Portraits

All Critics (104) | Top Critics (38)

Miller is a witty and socially acute observer; the three portraits in "Personal Velocity" are told with both novelistic richness and brisk, confident economy.

March 6, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

By the end of Personal Velocity, you want to invite all three female characters around for coffee to hear what happened next, and I can think of no higher praise for everyone involved.

January 2, 2018 | Full Review…

This uneven triptych features flawed female heroines whose woes are attributable to unstable or bland male partners and simple bad luck.

September 29, 2017 | Full Review…

Story about life's turning points is not for kids.

December 27, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Miller's film is bold and hearty, but it's also a ham-fisted wallop to the senses.

March 4, 2003 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

This beautifully realized film retains the essential qualities of short fiction: precision, compactness, a focus on epiphanic moments.

December 13, 2002 | Rating: A

Audience Reviews for Personal Velocity: Three Portraits


Not my cup of tea. I don't mind the short stories, but other that the fact the three women are having troubles in part due to their upbringing, the stories do not inter-relate at all.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer


This film is comprised of three portraits of women, one escaping from an abusive marriage, one considering adultery, and one who picks up a hitchhiker. Overly expository, these stories are undeveloped. The transition between short story and film is a difficult one, and Rebecca Miller clings to her prose with an obsessive compulsion that doesn't recognize the visual nature of her new medium. And the need to give backstory on all of her characters doesn't even work in prose. All three of the stories revolve around the theme of characters being stuck by their own identities and pasts. It's an interesting theme, but I don't see anything new in the way it's presented or the individualities of the characters, excepting the final story with Fairuza Balk. Overall, there is a difference between film and prose, and Miller doesn't adapt to that difference.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Great work by all three actresses and often movies with seperate stories bother me.

Sunil Jawahir
Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer

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