Blue Car ★★★½ 2003 (R)
Impressive directorial debut by Moncrieff tells the story of troubled teen Meg (Bruckner) and her sad, beaten-down English teacher Mr. Auster (Strathairn). Meg's life has been turned upside down with the divorce of her parents. Her mother is distant and over- worked, and her sister (Arnold, in an ex- cellent performance) is self-destructive. When she finds solace in poetry, Auster recognizes and encourages her talent, which leads to an awkwardly closer rela- tionship, skulkingly engineered by the teacher. Excellent script and direction, as well as stellar performances by Bruckner and Strathairn, allow the film to explore the situation without exploiting or judging. The characters are well-rounded and real, as is the dialogue, which makes the un- folding events that much more disturbing. 96m/C VHS, DVD . US Agnes Bruckner, David Strathairn, Margaret Colin, Regan Arnold, Frances Fisher, A.J. Buckley, Sarah Beuhler; D: Karen Moncrieff; W: Karen Moncrieff; C: Rob Sweeney; M: Stuart Spencer-Nash.