Kevin Maher in the London Times:
There is a spectre haunting Hollywood. Itâ€™s a terrifying vision of well-dressed fortysomething urbanites drifting aimlessly around city streets, staring at total strangers and ruminating on the nature of human intimacy, then returning home to sham marriages and alienated children, eating their dinner in silence and spending most of the night staring into the bathroom mirror, wondering in quasi-poetic internal monologue about the fact that we are all, on some unspeakably profound level, like, totally connected to everyone else.
This angsty archly reflective world view, once the preserve of the occasional Hollywood ensemble piece like "Magnolia," is becoming common currency at the multiplex. "We Donâ€™t Live Here Anymore" and "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing"…are typical examples, according to The New York Times, of "a genre that has been flourishing in recent years, but still lacks a name."
In its aspirations, design and worldview, "Heights" resembles a number of other films about cozily connected souls. These films, like "Love Actually," constitute a soap-operatic subgenre that might be called We Are the World. Sincere to a fault, they are built on the bedrock of decency or, more accurately, a set of shared assumptions. In these films, married characters occasionally stray, but no one ever smacks the kid, kicks the dog or burns with true, blood-boiling hate. (Todd Solondz makes We Are the World movies, too, but no one hates as passionately in his movies as he does.)
Nice catch, Manohla. Wouldn’t want The Paper of Record caught short on the coining of a phrase.