Paradise Road [1997]

Earnest and well-meaning, this film also accumulates power as it goes along, despite its inability to generate any moral complexity. But then how complex can you get in a story about the Japanese imprisonment and mistreatment of an international group of women (including Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, and Julianna Margulies)? Written and directed by Bruce Beresford, it's based on a true story. Japanese brutality has been well chronicled before; the real story here is the way these women of different social and ethnic backgrounds achieve a sense of solidarity in the face of potentially deadly abuse. Strong performances and many uplifting and moving moments. --Marshall Fine

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