The year is 1969 and the Apollo mission is on its way to the moon. On the one hand, we have the Vietnam War, the protests, life outside the establishment, and Woodstock – the happy habitat of hedonistic hippies. On the other hand, just a few miles away, there’s business as usual for the Jewish families who vacation at Dr. Fogler’s Bungalows, where a daring roast beef sandwich recipe or the arrival of "The Knish Man," "The Ice Cream Man" or "The Blouse Man" are the main events of the day.
But this year there’s a new Blouse Man in town (Viggo Mortensen). He’s a soft-spoken hippie with sensuous moves, blue eyes and a deep understanding of women. He knows how to make them feel wanted, beautiful, still alive. He knows how to silence their insecurities, how to make things better.
The women are often lonesome, sheltered. Their square, faithful husbands have stayed behind to work, to make more money. The children run around without a care in the world. The grandmothers – eyes closed, faint smiles on their lips – savor the quiet beat of a Sinatra song. Unwitnessed and unwhispering, time is passing.
And then, one day there’s Pearl (Diane Lane), with her rebellious, adolescent daughter (Anna Paquin) and her outspoken little boy and laundry and ice cream and the colorful patterns of the fabrics screaming at her from the racks of the new Blouse Man’s van.
Then there’s a love story, a passionate affair that touches Pearl’s heart. And then there’s a choice to be made between wild tenderness and homebound affection. And if rigid rules are shattered, and people are hurt, we know they’ll walk away from it all with a new understanding of their long-lost dreams and desires.
And if Pearl decides to end the affair that opened her eyes to a new way of loving, we know the Blouse Man – with the whole summer sky reflected in his eyes – will understand. For he’s a charmer with a soul made of flowers, and he knows when to let go.
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