Directed and scripted by Rodrigo Garcia, the 2005 Nine Lives is a film drama of vignettes about nine women. That they have in common sins and agonies and a willingness to live on (with, they hope, quality in life) is the movie’s reason for being. By no means, further, does Garcia ignore the permutations of their personalities, as witness the vignette where Holly (LisaGay Hamilton), a young black woman, undergoes an emotional breakdown in front of her father and, in a later vignette, is shown placidly doing her work as a nurse.

Garcia is serious, and with a vision more likable than offensive, which is good. How right he was to have Glenn Close‘s not-so-young Maggie, visiting a graveyard with her small daughter (Dakota Fanning), briefly weep and say to the girl, “I’m so tired, honey.” It is unsentimental and implies much. . . Every actor, from Robin Wright to Ian McShane, provides stupendous merit. One is glad that Garcia is interested in women, for it has led him to make the fine Nine Lives and then the fine Mother and Child in 2009.