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Amy Brenneman stars in Nevada as an unhappy wife and mother who packs a suitcase and travels West, eventually ending up in Silver, Nevada, a town populated almost entirely by women whose significant others are away building a dam. These women have created a sort of matriarchal society without men, and have a distinct interest in preserving the status quo, which is disrupted by Brenneman's presence. Kirstie Alley leads the crusade against Brenneman, but eventually even she is won over by the charismatic stranger. With its mysterious protagonist, its overt symbolism, and its minimalist, portentous dialogue, Nevada seems to strive for a sort of mythic resonance that it never comes close to achieving. Ostensibly a neo-Western about taking control of one's own destiny and leaving the world of men behind, Nevada's first half is as muddled, confused, and pretentious as Gus Van Sant's unwatchable Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. Things pick up toward the second half, as the film abandons its pretensions long enough to turn into a mediocre melodrama about a small town in which everyone nurses exactly one shameful secret. But Nevada never really amounts to anything more than a passable soap opera, albeit one with nice scenery.

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