Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Viva La Chick Flick

So last night I was across the street at my friend Brooke's, and she handed me a stack of DVD's I'd loaned to her. Among them was In Her Shoes, the Cameron Diaz/Toni Collette/Shirley Maclaine show from a few years ago. "This isn't mine," I said. Puzzled, Brooke finally answered, "Right, it's my mom's. But you should borrow it; I think you'll really like it."

I was hesitant. "You'll love it," usually fills me with the instant skepticism I get from my mom when I say, "you won't like it." On one hand, here's a built-in aversion to being categorized. On the other, I know from too much experience that I'm often disappointed when going in with raised expectations.

But I took the movie. For one, my TV is officially out (I'm riding out getting a new TV or converter box until I cave, probably when the new season starts in the fall...we'll see.) However, I'd heard that the movie was good, better than one might expect from something clearly marketed as a "chick flick." Then again, I'd heard the same thing about The Holiday, another Cameron Diaz film with Kate Winslet, and, god, was that a drippy, predictable, insulting mess...

But. In Her Shoes, a totally different story. It's a terrfic film, a great story, with rich subtle undertones, and yes, explores the lives of not one but three women. I'll admit, it takes on pretty cliched territory - two women (sisters) at opposite ends of the smart-to-pretty bell curve who are wounded from the same life event. But it's also very true. From the beginning of time it seems smart girls just want to be found attractive and pretty girls want to be taken seriously, all the while using the inert pretty/smart ness as a weapon against the other. And of course, all damaged people seem to be ultimately haunted by the same major life-events rooted in childhood. But we never seem to tire of seeing this dynamic played out (well, as well as it's done with skillful dialog, acting, and direction...)

Speaking of which, it's directed by Curtis Hanson (who directed LA Confidential and Wonder Boys and 8 Mile.) I highly recommend any of those as well.

And I'm going to try to remain a little more open to more of those "you should see this..."

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