Infidelity, drug consumption, and murder are a some of the things that go down in a few days in Anesthesia, Tim Blake Nelson’s clichéd hyperlink melodrama peopled mostly by privileged New Yorkers. Glenn Close plays a retiree, Sam Waterston her husband, a philosophy professor who sermonizes about moral relativity and Schopenhauerian pessimism, while his student (Kristen Stewart) struggles with self-harm. The professor’s son has his own problems, teenage children who smoke pot and a wife who may or may not have cancer. Loosely connected is an unhappy couple (Corey Stoll and Gretchen Mol) and their persnickety children, a junkie and his lawyer friend (Michael K. Williams). These trite stories converge in sentimental bursts. The script is well-constructed, the acting theatrical. With a conservative message, overt moralizing, and a heavy handed score, Anesthesia‘s title may be the only bit of irony in this earnest drama.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White