THE TREATMENT
© 2007 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.

The winner of the "Made in New York" prize at
the 2006
Tribeca Film Festival, THE
TREATMENT
marks the feature film debut of
documentary filmmaker Oren Rudavsky. In
adapting Daniel Menaker's novel of the same
name to the screen, Rudavsky and co-writer
Daniel Saul Housman have fashioned a social
comedy with underpinnings of romance.

Chris Eigeman, who rose to prominence in the
films of Whit Stillman, plays the central
character of Jake Singer, a prep school English
teacher struggling in his life. Like many New
Yorker, Jake has turned to therapy and in his
case he has sessions with the Argentinean Dr.
Ernesto Morales (Ian Holm), a Freudian who
comes off as the therapist from hell. He is
sarcastic, nasty, withholding and sometimes not
all that helpful. Nevertheless, each time that
Jake decides to terminate the sessions, the
good doctor guilts him into continuing.

Jake's life gets complicated when he encounters
wealthy widow Allegra Marshall (Famke Janssen)
at the school. Drawn to one another, the pair
begin an affair. Dr. Morales suggests that Jake
keep it light and just enjoy the sex. Jake,
however, falls in love and wants a real
relationship. That's the basic crux of the film.

THE TREATMENT is not a perfect movie. Some
of the subplots and secondary characters are not
as developed as they could be. One storyline
involving a minority student doesn't really play
out and is dropped about half-way through the
movie. A secondary one revolving around an
adoption swallows up much of the action of the
second half and is resolved in a somewhat
unrealistic manner.

Despite the flaws, the actors are pretty much all
on target. Stephanie March appears as a former
flame of Jake's, Roger Rees is the school's
headmaster, the always marvelous Elizabeth
Hubbard does what she can with the
underwritten role of Allegra's mother-in-law, and
Blair Brown handles the part of a social worker
with ease. Harris Yulin has a few scenes as
Jake's distant but understanding father.

The three main performances are what carry the
film, though. Holm is a hoot as the therapist
who seems to be in need of treatment of his
own. Janssen does a lovely job as the widow
who tentatively falls in love. Most of the heavy
lifting falls on Eigeman and it's a pleasure to
see the actor back in form. He does a splendid
job and anchors the movie.

I did not get to see
THE TREATMENT at
Tribeca in 2006, so it's nice to have the
opportunity finally to view it. By no means is it
a great movie, but it does have its pleasures
and is enjoyable thanks to its trio of leading
performers.


Rating:                C+
MPAA Rating:        None
Running time:      86 mins.


Viewed at Magno Review Two
Chris Eigeman as Jake Singer in
THE TREATMENT
Courtesy of New Yorker Films © 2007