Meanwhile, Frances must deal with the recalcitrance of her gay son, Morgan (Nick Stahl), and the attentions of Bob (Seymour Cassel), a married former lover.

With its many characters, travels to different U.S. locations, numerous flashbacks to the past and unexpected couplings, Christopher Münch's film is a rich impasto. Too rich. Although sensitive to a fault, it's often overwritten, with a surfeit of weighty revelations, flowery dialogue, and nostalgia for the past and roads not taken. One's involvement with the central plight of Frances is constantly being diverted by the various subplots, involving each one of the very needy protagonists. One feels the definite need of a savvy script editor here, as well as the other kind, for the film's pace often flags.

The movie is definitely pictorial, with Rob Sweeney's camera making the lovely most of each different locale. Bisset is as gorgeous in her (unsurgically "improved") maturity as Charlotte Rampling, and every bit her equal as an actress. However, such is Münch's rambling focus here that the chance for a defining tour-de-force for this underutilized great beauty is denied her. He keeps cutting to Plimpton, who is a far less compelling camera subject, and serves up her usual brand of mordantly butch self-deprecation. In his first film, The Hours and Times, Münch showed talent with a nigh-impossible subject: an imagining of a romantic Barcelona weekend between John Lennon and his equally legendary manager, Brian Epstein. The director kept the scope small and intimate, and rewarded the viewer with a unique, highly affecting experience. Here's hoping the next time out, he has more control over his undeniably fertile cinematic imagination.