Based on Bruce Wagner’s bestselling 1997 novel, “I’m Losing You” is a melodrama of a wealthy Los Angeles family, and the journey each one begins after a death in the family. Presented by Executive Producer David Cronenberg (“Crash”, “Dead Ringers”) and producers Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler (“Safe”, “I Shot Andy Warhol”, “Velvet Goldmine”), Wagner directs his much-anticipated adaptation of the book. Not since Mike Leigh’s “Secrets and Lies” or “The Sweet Hereafter” has a family’s secrets, both sexual and murderous, been so thoroughly, modernly dissected. The title of the film refers not only to loss of life and of love, but to a phrase used by most Angelenos while talking on cellular phones: “I’m Losing You…” Perry Krohn is the producer of a hit sci-fi series called “Blue Matrix”. At the film’s beginning, Perry is told he has an inoperable cancer in his lungs. “Do you realize how much money I made last year?,” the still robust producer asks his doctor on learning the fatal diagnosis. “Eight million dollars”.
As if to buy more time, Perry becomes obsessed with a “minute repeater”, a $200,000 wristwatch by Breguet, the company that made timepieces for Napoleon. Diantha, Perry’s wife for many years, is a chic, repressed psychiatrist who practices out of their Hollywood Hills home. She has long overlooked her husband’s string of affairs because, as she confesses, her sex drive was never that high”. At one point she tells a friend that “for me, life was never the hot fudge sundae it was for Perry”. As the film unfolds, we learn that one of Perry’s affairs was different than the others… When Perry’s brother died, he and Diantha adopted the brother’s infant daughter, Rachel. Rachel now works as an appraiser at Sotheby’s. She had always been told her parents were killed in an accident, and is stunned to uncover that her father actually murdered his wife then killed himself. But perhaps the most shocking secret in “I’m Losing You” is what precipitated such a tragedy: Perry’s affair with Rachel’s mother. Their son, Bertie Krohn is an actor who had his moment years ago. (“You think you’re Matt Damon”, rails his ex-wife, “but you can’t even get a fucking Radio Shack commercial”). He’s now in his mid-thirties and struggling to support his daughter, Tiffany, and because his ex-wife is a drug addict, Bertie has full custody. Bertie is proud and refuses to accept help from his parents?he won’t even audition for his father’s show. He is forced to do work outside the “business”. One of the grim jobs he takes on is in an industry that has recently proliferated nation-wide: he “sells short” the life insurance policies of people with AIDS in order to front the dying a cash advance. In the midst of such morbidity, Bertie is staggered to fall in love with a “pozzie”, a woman with AIDS.
“I’m Losing You” follows the path of each character after a cataclysmic event: the death of Bertie’s young daughter in an accident. One of the ironies of the film is how the family comes closer together in the wake of such an event, seeking to recover from a blow that has driven each one to near-madness. What began as a dysfunctional family drama now lurches toward transcendence and becomes universal; shot through by the light of redemption.
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