Ray Meets Helen is full of surreal, strange moments, and while it may not quite add up at the end, it doesn’t matter because the journey is never boring and is consistently engaging.
Plot: In bizarre, unrelated turns of events, Ray and Helen each happen upon large sums of money which give them the chance to re-invent themselves.
Review: Sick and lonely insurance investigator Ray (Keith Carradine) – a former boxer – is on a case of some stolen cash, and in a twist of fate, he comes into almost all of the money without anyone really knowing about it. He decides to go on a spending spree, but on his first night out, he meets the equally lonely and emotionally precautious Helen (Sondra Locke), who has assumed the life of a woman who recently committed suicide … because why not? These two oddballs seem destined for one another, but their quick romance is fraught with the perils of all the baggage they each carry with them.
The first film from director Alan Rudolph in about 15 years, Ray Meets Helen is exactly what I’d hoped it would be from this very special filmmaker. Having been a fan of his since I saw Choose Me and Trouble in Mind back in the VHS days, I’ve always found myself drawn to Rudolph’s jazzy, melancholic sensibilities. Ray Meets Helen is full of surreal, strange moments, and while it may not quite add up at the end, it doesn’t matter because the journey is never boring and is consistently engaging. Both Carradine and Locke (who died just as the film was getting released) inhabit these forlorn characters perfectly. A quirky supporting cast includes Keith David, Jennifer Tilly, and Samantha Mathis.
Ray Meets Helen is now on DVD from MVD Visual.