Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2002)


This is an interesting and profound drama, because this movie has one underlying theme that is relatable and universal: happiness. This movie has four separate characters whose life and tale seems to interconnect in some odd way. Matthew Mc Conaughey plays Troy, a hotshot lawyer with a triumphant swagger whose luck can’t seem to stop after putting a suspect in jail, and he has everything going for him, until he accidentally hits someone with his car and drives off to leave them to die. Slowly within the movie he descents into madness as his guilt has him take a mental plunge.

Clea Duvall is a young cleaning woman whose bright – eyed optimism seems to fuel her best friend. She looks at the world with a glass half full until she experiences an unexpected tragedy that quickly sours her and leaves her jaded. John Turturro is a meek college professor who seeks happiness through routine. He has every routine down in his life and somehow tries to break it by having an affair on his wife, Patricia yet steps right into another routine. In my favorite tale, Alan Arkin plays a boss for a business company who is a very unhappy man and seems to have a very bitter life, until he comes across another co-worker with a string of good luck. He then sets out to bring the worker down and gets more than he expects.

This is a very good movie because this constantly jumps from character to character in their situations. Some of them are of have been happy at one time and all seem to take a plunge into reality that seems to turn them into bitter characters. Writers Karen and Jill Sprecher give a disgustingly real script that seem to give a grim and jaded story. The characters in this movie all seek happiness through different facets of their lives, yet all that comes to them is reality. In one of the segments Arkin’s character, he seems so unhappy and bitter; he intentionally fires another happy co-worker just to see him tumble with dread.

The entire cast gives great performances including Alan Arkin whose segments are the best aspects of the movie. He’s a great character and his malicious deeds show his unhappiness well. Matthew McConaughey had too much of a bit role to truly give an impact in my mind, but his role is incredible. He slowly descents into madness by the guilt of his hit and run, so much so, he intentionally keeps the cut on his head fresh as a sort of symbolic reminder which ultimately brings him to bad health. Clea Duvall is good as the vulnerable wide – eyed optimistic character that sees life through “Rose colored glasses”. She’s great in her character change from optimist to jaded and her segments are truly interesting.

The story moves at the pace of a snail; it moves so slow that in fact it left me impatient and almost prompted me to give up after a while. The characters are so dull and grim that it makes it almost impossible to care or even like them at all. The writing is so grim and annoying it left me so depressed I contemplated drinking a bottle of pills. In the end, there’s no real resolution or conclusion and the segment including John Turturro is so weak, it was a poor introduction to the ending. Turturro’s segments are the weakest points in the movie; his story, though interesting and ironic, are also dim and dull. Karen and Jill Sprecher give a bittersweet and gloomy script and storyline that shows how quickly happiness can fade in the drop of a dime and quickly change into sadness by a single event.