By William Wolf

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Audra McDonald has been such a stately presence as an actress of range and depth that it comes as a pleasant shock to see her in fairly explicit (but soft-core) sex scenes in the new film “Hello Again.” She sizzles, although one might wonder what especially attracted her to take part in this oddball musical. Perhaps it was the opportunity to let herself go in a totally different environment. Whatever the case, I won’t argue with the opportunity to see her turn on the heat.

“Hello Again,” directed by Tom Gustafson from a screenplay by Cory Krueckberg, is an adaptation of John LaChiusa’s stage musical by the same title. It won’t take long for you to recognize that it all stems from Arthur Schnitzler’s “La Ronde,” which has through the years inspired many riffs. The idea is that affairs keep extending as a partner in one relationsnhip moves on to the next etc.

There are various permutations in “Hello Again,” including a scene on the Titanic in which a steward who knows the ship is in danger of sinking withholds the information from a male passenger with whom he wants to have sex.

The best part about the film is its cast, with Martha Plimpton a definite highlight along with McDonald, Cheyenne Jackson and others of note. The sex in the film gets close to being explicit without crossing the line. But the musical aspects of the film play second fiddle to the dramatizations and the spinning of the plot and relationships, sometimes seeming forced in the effort to adhere to the theme.

But I sure enjoyed watching McDonald, and Plimpton as well, with Plimpton assuming a pivotal role in the movie’s structure. A Screenvision Media release. Reviewed November 8, 2017.


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