The Designated Mourner
The Designated Mourner ★½ 1997 (R)
Adapted from the play by Wallace Shawn, this pointy-headed inaction movie laments the passing of the class of people who “appreciate the poetry of John Donne” and other forms of high art. It's probably the same class that would like this movie. Set in an unnamed politically repressive country that resembles a large table, Nichols plays the eponymous mourner Jack, a journalist who once ran with a literary crowd but betrayed their ideals for survival. Richardson plays his wife Judy, the daughter of final talking head Howard (de Keyser), who is a humanist poet who doesn't like people. If you need a lecture on culture written by a man who was in “Mom and Dad Save the World” and played the geeky social studies teacher in “Clueless,” then this is your movie. To quote Shawn: “Inconceivable!” 94m/C VHS, DVD . GB Mike Nichols, Miranda Richardson, David de Keyser; D: David Hare; W: Wallace Shawn; C: Oliver Stapleton; M: Richard Hartley.