September 19, 1988 12:00 PM

Theresa Russell plays a boozing North Carolina housewife racked with guilt over having given away a son born out of wedlock while she was in high school. Russell has willed him back into her life. Or she thinks she has. He turns up (visible to only a few) in the form of Gary (Prick Up Your Ears) Oldman, a punk Brit who is supposed to be about 20 but is fond of screaming “Mommy” and nibbling at Russell’s breasts. Russell prefers this dream son to her doctor husband, Christopher Lloyd, who has time only for model trains and a kinky nurse, comic-actress Sandra Bernhard. Director Nicolas (Don’t Look Now) Roeg, working with screenwriter Dennis Potter—author of the BBC-TV series The Singing Detective—is as out-of-control and perversely fascinating as ever. Everything culminates in a violent dream—or is it?—that leaves Russell (she is Mrs. Roeg and this is their fifth film together) on her way to a new life. What this movie means might better be analyzed on a psychiatrist’s couch. But adventuresome moviegoers are advised to hop aboard this wild, wacky choo-choo. (R)

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