40 Shades of Blue (Forty Shades of Blue)

Director: Ira Sachs
Screenwriters: Michael Rohatyn, Ira Sachs

Institute History


Returning to Sundance, Ira Sachs brilliantly harnesses a sophisticated cinematic lexicon to reveal the rich interior lives of his characters, the taut dynamics among them, and the unforgettable, visually detailed world they inhabit—all in a contemporary drama with archetypal overtones and profound emotion.

Forty Shades of Blue is the story of Laura, a Russian woman living in Memphis with Alan, a legendary music producer twice her age. Though she looks the part, Laura is no typical trophy wife. Vigilantly guarded, she sublimates her own desires out of a stoic sense of duty and a reluctance to impose on Alan's generosity. When Alan's estranged adult son Michael comes for a visit, an intuitive bond develops between them that destabilizes her tightly ordered world. Michael becomes a mirror that allows her to see herself and new possibilities.

Dina Korzun's riveting, coiled performance offers precious glimpses into Laura's smoldering soul. As in a Henry James novel, Sachs charts his heroine's subtle self-discovery with intimate precision. The always wonderful Rip Torn is Falstaff and King Lear both, as the crusty, intimidating patriarch forced to confront his mortality—his lushly appointed yet outmoded home a resonant metaphor for his predicament. As the third side of this quasi-Oedipal triangle, Darren Burrows brings exquisite sensitivity to the part of the disapproving son emerging from his father's shadow.

The power of Forty Shades of Blue confirms Sachs as one the most exciting voices in American cinema.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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