In Strapless, Lillian (Blair Brown) is a middle-aged American doctor working in a large London hospital. Lonely, disciplined, and responsible, she lives with her promiscuous younger sister Amy (Bridget Fonda) who wants to be a designer.
On a European holiday, Lillian meets Raymond Forbes (Bruno Ganz), a successful entrepreneur who treats her like she's the only woman in the world. Unable to handle his adoration, she flees to London. Later, Raymond tracks her down and appears outside her place with a horse as a token of his love. Overwhelmed by his romantic gestures and desiring for the first time in her life to break the rules, she secretly marries him, not even telling her sister.
English playwright David Hare (Wetherby) has written and directed an elegant and thought-provoking film about one woman's mid-life crisis. Judith Viorst, in Necessary Losses, alludes to the situation Lillian finds herself in: "As our past realities start to collapse, we challenge the self-definitions that have sustained us . . . Is our work worth doing? Have we matured or have we simply sold out? Do our connections with family and friends rest on a loving exchange or on desperate dependencies? How free and how strong do we wish do we dare to be?"
When Raymond walks out on her and Lillian learns that he is a deeply troubled womanizer with large debts, she comes face-to-face with her own conflicted views of love and work. With great resolve, she patches up her relationship with Amy who is now pregnant, and assumes new responsibilities at work.
Blair Brown gives the best performance of her career in Strapless. David Hare confirms his special talent for exploring serious subjects on the screen in illuminating ways.