Mark Reviews Movies


3 Stars (out of 4)

Director: Nicole Holofcener

Cast: Catherine Keener, Emily Mortimer, Brenda Blethyn, Raven Goodwin, Aunjanue Ellis, Clark Gregg, Jake Gyllenhaal, James LeGros, Dermot Mulroney

MPAA Rating:  (for language and nudity)

Running Time: 1:29

Release Date: 6/28/02

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik

Lovely & Amazing is a refreshing reminder that not every movie about women must be a hollow, empty, self-indulgent "chick flick." Here’s a film about a group of women with problems, some of which are legitimate and others that are fabrications of society. What’s so utterly honest about this film is that by the end, the women come to realize that there are no and never were any obstacles to overcome and that all of those problems they work so hard on trying to fix or waste so much energy worrying over mean absolutely nothing in regards to the kind of person they are. The story focuses on three sisters and their mother. Michelle (Catherine Keener) is the oldest sister. She’s married with a daughter and has been failing to sell her art (miniature chairs and homemade wrapping paper). Elizabeth (Emily Mortimer) is the middle daughter. She’s an incredibly self-aware and insecure actor (are there any other kind?). Annie (Raven Goodwin) is the youngest daughter. She's an eight-year-old African-American girl who was adopted into the family fairly recently. The mother is Jane (Brenda Blethyn), who spends the majority of the film in the hospital, recovering from liposuction surgery. What do these women have in common? Well, they’re all at low points in their respective lives. They all (except the youngest) have trouble with men. Elizabeth ’s boyfriend doesn’t understand her profession and thinks she needs a "girlfriend" for a boyfriend—someone who can talk to her about her body image. Michelle and her husband haven’t had sex in some time, she tells him, but it doesn’t seem to faze him. Jane has been alone ever since her husband left her, which is a major reason why she adopted Annie in the first place. The men in the movie, however, are not bland, uncaring slobs, but men who are simply not compatible with their female counterparts. The film is wise enough to show that both the men and women are evenly responsible for the problems within their relationships, and it’s also equally wise to portray these women as choosing to emphasize and distort their problems in their own minds. They’ve made choices in their lives—good and bad—and now they have to confront them.

Copyright © 2003 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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