Cover art illustration of movie characters

Reviewed by Craig J. C., Senior Materials Handler

Between the Lines, directed by Joan Micklin Silver is available to stream on Kanopy.


The second feature from trailblazing independent filmmaker Joan Micklin Silver (following the immigrant drama Hester Street, which scored an Oscar nomination for lead actress Carol Kane), Between the Lines dramatizes the inner workings of a Boston alt-weekly on the verge of being bought by a media conglomerate whose plans for the paper mean things will no longer be business as usual. Not that “business as usual” is so hot since its days of counterculture rabble-rousing are long past. "We really shook things up, you know,” says chief investigative reporter Harry (John Heard), who ruefully adds they “didn't change anything.” Nowadays, Harry can barely work up the enthusiasm for a puff piece about a stripper (played by Marilu Henner in her screen debut), so he’s right to wonder whether he has it in him to resist the buyout and the easy paycheck that could go along with it. Meanwhile, his on-again off-again photographer girlfriend Abbie (Lindsay Crouse) weighs her own options, the paper's resident rock columnist Max (Jeff Goldblum, who ably steals the film out from under his co-stars) can barely afford his hedonistic lifestyle, and so on down the line (or between them). Each, in their own way, has to decide whether to stand by their principles or if they still have principles to stand by in the first place.

This is review is part of the Finding Value series, inspired by the eleven core values central to the Library's mission. Tune in as Library staff review books and movies that highlight the values accessibility, civil discourse, inclusiveness, integrity, intellectual freedom, lifelong learning, literacy, respect, safety, service, and stewardship.