Writer/director Rodrigo Garcia has rounded up a monstrous cast – Glenn Close, Robin Wright Penn, Ian McShane, William Fichtner and Holly Hunter, among many others – for this disconnected but polished collection of nine stories about nine-and-a-half women at various life crossroads.

The vignettes in Nine Lives make only superficial references to one another – a supporting character in one occasionally plays a leading or background role in another – and there’s no hackneyed attempt at the end to force the stories to intertwine or reconcile. That would undermine the narrative power some of these episodes have: The business is unfinished, and that’s half the point.

You’re often left wanting more – Penn’s, Lisa Gay Hamilton’s and Amy Brenneman’s stories are particularly absorbing – but Garcia deserves credit for leaving it that way and not taking the Hollywood way out, even as he manages to give the film what could be argued is a happy ending.

Extras: Cast/crew Q&A, Four behind-the-scenes features.

Grade: B+