Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

KISSING JESSICA STEIN

 

Year: 2001
Country: USA
Run Time: 97 minutes

Actors/playwrights Heather Jeurgensen and Jennifer Westfeldt bring their own off-Broadway stage production to the screen in an effervescent comedy about crossing over ? and we don't mean that bogus TV show with the alleged spirit medium. Jessica Stein is a lonely New Yorker whose avocation to paint goes unrecognized in her job at a busy publishing firm, just as it was by an unsatisfying string of ex-boyfriends. Finally Jessica resorts to scanning the lonely-hearts ads in the newspaper for a kindred spirit, and she reads a listing that touches her soul with its Rilke-quoting poetry. The only problem is that the notice was placed not by a Sensitive Guy but by a female, in the Women Seeking-Women section. Nonetheless, after a moment of hesitation, Jessica decides to respond and winds up making a rendezvous with an art dealer named Helen Cooper, who is also experimenting with cross-gender dating. The pair click instantly, discovering they have much in common. In spite of Jessica's mother's apprehension and derogatory comments from friends, Jessica and Helen waver on the palette's-knife-edge between sisterly affection and genuine romance, self-consciously going about an ambiguous bonding routine that may be a lesbian courtship, if only they would both recognize it as such. Finally, on the occasion of Jessica's brother's wedding, our heroine decides it's time to introduce Helen to the family ? and make a decision over just what Helen means to her.

Screenplay
Heather Juergensen, Jennifer Westfeldt (based on their play, ?Lipschtick

Director
Charles Herman-Wurmfeld

Producer
Eden Wurmfeld, Brad Zions

Cinematography
Lawrence Sher

Editing
Kristy Jacobs Maslin, Gregory Tillman

Principal Cast
Jennifer Westfeldt, Heather Juergensen, Scott Cohen, Tovah Feldshuh, Jackie Hoffman

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