Rebecca Miller has brought three short stories from her book Personal Velocity to the screen with John Ventimiglia serving as narrator. This gives the mini-dramas a distinctively literary feel with the words having equal weight as the images set before us. Miller does have a way with words, such as the following finale to the second vignette about a married woman: "She was going to dump her beautiful husband like a redundant paragraph." The character is a book editor known for her ability to cut fat from overly verbose works. She and the other two women are all trying to move on in their lives from one thing to another. The transition period for them is a fallow time, pregnant with possibilities. They must decide what they really want.
Kyra Sedgwick is Delia, a working-class woman who has graduated from being the class slut in high school to being a battered woman in a nightmarish marriage. In the middle of the night after a savage beating, she decides to flee for her life with her three children. She spends some time in a shelter healing her wounds. Delia has a nasty disposition which flares out in a verbal attack on a cheerful woman who is trying to help her at the center. Realizing that it is time to move on, she remembers another class outcast from high school and calls her for help. Fay (Mara Hobel) gives Delia and her children a place to stay in her garage. Old feelings of resentment between the two women come to the surface. Delia lands a job as a waitress. In the end, she decides to reclaim her power by sexually dominating a young man who is infatuated with her.
In the second mini-drama, Parker Posey is Greta, a cookbook editor who years ago threw aside a career in law as part of her love/hate relationship with Avram (Ron Leibman), her father who's a famous lawyer. Now she is married to Lee (Tim Guinee), a bland Midwesterner whose most outstanding quality is that Greta knows he'll never leave her. At work, Greta is stunned when her boss (Wallace Shawn) informs her that Thavi Matola (Joel De La Fuente), a popular novelist, wants her to edit his new book. Once their work begins, he lets her know that he has complete confidence in her ability. When the novel is published and is a bestseller, Greta is deliriously happy. She turns to her father for recognition and he draws close to her again. At the same time. Greta feels liberated and that awakens her sexual interest in other men. It is time for a change and she knows just what to do to cut loose and begin anew.
In the final mini-drama, Fairuza Balk is Paula, who ran away from home several years ago and now lives with Vincent (Seth Gilliam), a Haitian. After a fight with him, she goes out to a club and meets a Norwegian man. They leave the place together and while walking down the street, he is hit by a car and killed. Paula flees from the scene and decides to visit her mother (Patti D'Arbanville) whose boyfriend doesn't like her very much. On the way, she picks up Kevin (Lou Taylor Pucci), a hitchhiker who has cuts on his hands. While talking to her mother, she admits that she's pregnant but doesn't want to keep the baby. Then a very distraught Vincent calls, and she's unable to tell him what she is feeling. Back on the road with Kevin, she discovers that he has wounds all over his body. She takes him to a motel where she looks after him. In the morning, she tells Vincent on the phone everything that has happened to her. Her plan is to take Kevin home and give him a place to stay until he gets back on his feet. But her attempt to pay back a debt owed to fate falls flat when Kevin gives his response to her offer to help out.
Personal Velocity points out how difficult it is for people to accept the generosity and kindness of others. False vanity or stubborn independence often turns down-and-out individuals into angry and resentful strangers.
The DVD includes two commentaries and two featurettes, all of which feature writer/filmmaker Rebecca Miller.