The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Connecticut.
A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.
A man coping with the institutionalization of his wife because of Alzheimer's disease faces an epiphany when she transfers her affections to another man, Aubrey, a wheelchair-bound mute who also is a patient at the nursing home.
Twenty-something native Vermonter Mirabelle Buttersfield, having recently graduated from college, is finding her new life in Los Angeles not quite what she was expecting or hoping. An aspiring artist, she is barely eking out a living working as a clerk at the women's evening gloves counter at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills and thus she can barely make the payments on her massive student loans. She treats her job with a certain distance, often daydreaming as she watches the life of the rich as they shop at the store. She has made no friends, including from among her Saks colleagues, and thus lives a solitary existence, which does not assist in her dealing with her chronic clinical depression. So it is with some surprise that two men with a romantic interest in her enter her life almost simultaneously. The first is poor slacker Jeremy, who works as an amplifier salesman/font designer. Mirabelle continues dating Jeremy as only a relief to her solitary life, as Jeremy doesn't seem to ... Written by
Funny and sad, sweet and acerbic, Shopgirl is quite simply the most rewarding experience of the year. I have not read Steve Martin's novel, but from what I knew of it I kinda thought the movie would be good. What I did not expect was an experience so involving, so compelling and simply so delightful. Good, interesting characters start with the writing; great characters emerge when the actors enhance the writers vision. And we see three great examples of this here.
Everything about this film was note perfect; a terrific, slightly idiosyncratic story, wonderful scenes that sometimes have you laughing, sometimes wiping away a tear and always inviting your rapt attention. Terrific acting and direction which ensured that every scene was "just enough".
There is a word that is hardly ever used today, and if it is, it's usually in a sneering way; and that word is "sophistication". But "Shopgirl" is a truly sophisticated movie. Not in the superficial and secondary sense of being glamorous or even cultured, but in the better sense of intelligence, complexity and subtlety. And there is real intelligence at work here; and while all involved display it, it is Steve Martin's own vision that ultimately informs every aspect of the film.
The success of "Million Dollar Baby" gave me new respect for the Oscars; is it too much too hope that "Shopgirl" could achieve the same recognition?
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