Director: Chris Terrio
Screenwriters: Amy Fox, Chris Terrio

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


New York is a city of millions, and yet it can be the smallest place in the world, where lives intertwine in fateful ways. Chris Terrio's assured debut, produced by Ismail Merchant, transplants the trademark sophistication and elegant, character-driven sensibility of a Merchant/Ivory film to the Big Apple, chronicling a whirlwind day of chance encounters that profoundly alter the complicated lives of a worldly mother and daughter.

On a fall day when the weather is changing and the air is charged, Diana Lee (Glenn Close), the grande dame of New York theatre, dashes from master class to rehearsal, while her photographer daughter Isabel (Elizabeth Banks) scurries from wedding shoot to studio. But as the day progresses and Diana learns that her husband has a new lover, a painful reality sets in, and even the birthday party she throws for herself offers little comfort. Meanwhile, an old flame and a job offer launch Isabel into an identity crisis and a fight with her fiancé. Both women cross paths with a young actor and a journalist, who propel them to new truths and more authentic lives.

Like the rooftops from which the characters gaze at a sparkling New York, Heights provides a superb vantage point for following the intersections and collisions of emotions and actions. Consummately directed, with nuanced performances from a top-notch ensemble, Heights sweeps us up in an urbane world coursing with vital energy and pathos.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

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