Separate Lives
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -2

The psychological thriller, SEPARATE LIVES, rivets the viewer's attention to the screen. Successful and refined psychology professor Lauren Porter (Linda Hamilton) finds herself deeply troubled. She asks her student and former homicide detective, Tom Beckwith (James Belushi), to keep her under surveillance. Unknown even to her, Lauren leads a double life. At night she sheds her conservative daytime personality and becomes "Lena," a sexy and dangerous alter-ego. Haunted by the suicide-murder of her mother and stepfather when she was a child, Lauren's mind creates Lena, an alter-ego threatening to overtake conventional Lauren. Before long, Lauren and Tom find evidence that ties Lena to the murder of an old friend of Lauren's mother. The murder victim had been a district attorney who wanted to reopen the 20-year-old murder-suicide case. SEPARATE LIVES will keep the viewer wondering "who done it" up to the last frame.

This film turns on a "doppleganger" idea or hidden self. We first see the psychologist calmly interviewing a client who suddenly jumps up and breaks a glass wall, then threatens to cut Lauren's throat. Then we see her as "Lena," scantily clad, gyrating in a dance hall, and leaving to have sex. As the investigation heats up, several violent acts occur, including two brutal beatings, a police chase, a man killed when pushed through an upper-story window and a man shoved down a stairway. But the film's violence is not the only reason for an R rating. Two scenes of couples making love, once on the kitchen table, and rear male and female nudity, obscured frontal female nudity and scantily clad women add to its "adult only" content. All kinds of foul language and profanity add to SEPARATE LIVES' distasteful nature, making it a very poor viewing choice.

Preview Reviewer: Bonnie C. Harvey, Ph.D.
Distributor: Trimark Pictures, 2644 30th St., Santa Monica, CA 90405

Crude Language: Several (8) times - Mild 3, Moderate 5
Obscene Language: Many (23) times - F-word 12, s-word 9, other 2
Profanity: Several (6) times - Regular 5 (JC), Exclamatory 1
Violence: Several times - Moderate and Severe (brutal beatings, kicking; woman breaks glass wall and holds glass to woman's throat; 3 people shot and killed; man killed when pushed from window; man pushed down stairs; property damage)
Sexual Intercourse: Twice, without nudity
Nudity: Few times (male and female buttocks; female frontal, partially obscured; near nudity - scantily dressed women)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Several times (references to genitals, intercourse; sensual kissing and dancing)
Drug Abuse: Social drinking and cigarette smoking
Other: None
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (