Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Of Images, Reality and Delusions

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Of Images, Reality and Delusions

Article excerpt

"SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION" Rating: R, nudity, language. Running time: 1:51.

STOCKARD CHANNING, Donald Sutherland and Will Smith may get the billing, but the unheralded star of "Six Degrees of Separation" is the island of Manhattan, and it almost steals the show.

John Guare's fascinating play, taken from an actual incident, has become an impressive film, with Guare doing the screenplay and Fred Schepisi directing. The story deals with a young con man who invades the Fifth Avenue apartment of Flan (Sutherland) and Ouisa (Channing) Kittredge, art dealers on the brink of a major sale.

The young man claims he was mugged in Central Park and has a stab wound to prove it. He says he came to the Kittredges because he knew their children at Harvard. He has lots of details to back up his story, and as he goes along, he slowly reveals that he is Paul Poitier, son of Sidney, in town to meet his father the next day.

In addition, young Poitier knows about their paintings and their friends and, as an added fillip, cooks dinner for them and their guest, a potential investor from South Africa.

They insist he spend the night, but by morning, everything is different. Ouisa finds him in bed with a strange young man, and hysteria takes command, though nothing has been stolen and no physical harm done to anyone.

The Kittredges call the police, and soon they realize that there was no Paul Poitier, that he was a con man on the hustle. And then, as their story becomes part of their cocktail-party patter, they realize that they are not Paul's only victims.

Guare's play is more than just an exploration of a con man in action; it is a look at connection, at dreams, at the vagaries and weaknesses of those who live at the fancy addresses of the Upper East Side of New York. …

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