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May 02, 2007

Stephanie Daley

A glorified after school special, "Stephanie Daley" is a short-winded run at pointing a finger of guilt at 16-year-old Stephanie Daley (well-played by Amber Tamblyn) for murdering her newborn baby in the relative privacy of a public bathroom stall. Upstate New York is the suburban setting where Stephanie undergoes a series of interrogations by forensic psychologist Lydie Crane (Tilda Swinton) while awaiting trial for murder. Writer-director Hilary Brougher falls foul in her attempts to create a corollary experience for Lydie who recently suffered a stillbirth but is once again pregnant by her dutiful husband Paul (Timothy Hutton) who she projects is cheating. Brougher’s contemptible miscasting of the ever-strange Swinton is pushed even further with Lydie’s uncouth romantic dalliances with her husband’s business partner. Flashbacks provide the bulk of the story wherein the religiously conflicted Stephanie gets knocked up at a high school party by a stereotypical here-today-gone-tomorrow local stud. If ever there were a shamelessly preachy attempt to scare teen girls out of having unprotected sex, this is it.
Rated R. 91 mins. (C-)

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