As you might expect, these seemingly disparate threads get woven together at the end. The hash of the film's narrative starts to make sense, though, and resolutions spin out across the screen like the filament of some uneasy knowledge, some great mystery partly solved. Writer-director Terrio seems to have no fear of the big questions in life. On the contrary, he and playwright Amy Fox, from whose stage production the movie is adapted, attack their considerations of art, love and the pursuit of happiness like a couple of nervy kids diving off the high board into the pool. But solemnity comes easier than wit, and even though much of the film takes place in Woody Allen country -- the lofts and cocktail parties of the New York intelligentsia -- neither Fox nor Terrio has anything like Allen's dead aim on neurotic folly.
Still, there are things here to like -- particularly the filmmaker's sense of the big city as a welter of infinite possibilities. New York is an emotionally charged character in Heights, the teeming place that's always reinventing itself and where you can recast your life, too. For Isabel, that means considering a New York Times shoot in the Balkans rather than a wedding on the East Side. For Alec, it's a choice between well-meant fringe theater and a move into the mainstream. For Close's Diana, who here provides the ballast of age (if not much wisdom), reassessment might mean understanding that a little Lady Macbeth goes a long way. In Terrio and Fox's hands, this tangle of troubles adds up to a kind of quirky, high-toned soap opera -- not always compelling, but consistently interesting enough to keep us watching and wondering what will become of these people next. Director of photography Jim Denault (who shot last year's unsettling drug drama Maria Full of Grace) provides some wonderful, unexpected New York views, the cast members work well together (you can feel the camaraderie), and Terrio gets sharp cameos from Michael Murphy, Eric Bogosian and, in the movie's funniest scene George Segal (as an old-school rabbi who can't accustom himself to mixed marriage). Those with a taste for self-absorbed excess will probably take to Close's florid performance.