Straight-laced Rose breaks off relations with her party girl sister, Maggie, over an indiscretion involving Rose's boyfriend. The chilly atmosphere is broken with the arrival of Ella, the grandmother neither sister knew existed.
Two sisters, plus a dead mother, a remarried father, and a hostile step-mother. The sisters, each in her way, have perfected the art of losing. The elder, Rose, is an attorney, responsible, lonely, with a closet full of shoes. The younger is Maggie, beautiful, selfish, and irresponsible. Her drunken behavior gets her tossed by her step-mother from her dad's house; worse behavior gets her tossed from Rose's apartment. Then, while searching in her father's desk for money to filch, Maggie finds an address; the past and the future open up to her and, with any luck, may open to her sister as well. Written by
Greetings again from the darkness. Caught a screening of this after only seeing one trailer, which had done little to spark my interest. I will issue a "chick flick" alert; however, this is a rare case of that alert not ruining a movie for guys. This is an excellent film, period.
Director Curtis Hanson, who helmed one of my all-time favs "L.A. Confidential" brings a reality to the film that prevents it from ever sinking into "Beaches" muck. The three lead actors are all outstanding. Cameron Diaz flashes some real ability as party girl turned soul searcher. Shirley MacLaine is terrific as the long-lost grandmother who has wised up and is thrilled to be re-discovered. The always great Toni Collette ("The Sixth Sense" mom) is the heart of the the film, despite her character's lack of confidence, which usually sends me into a coma. This overused female trait is handled quite differently by writer and director and actor, thereby creating a great deal of interest for the viewer.
The dialogue is real, the characters are real and the settings are real. These are people and families and relationships that we can all relate to. The script proves that most family dysfunction is the result of poor communication, not bad people. Regrets can eat away and just become part of the fabric of a family. Once they are hit head-on, there is much to gain by all involved.
Two supporting cast members really stand out. Francine Beers as Mrs. Lefkowitz, a retirement community neighbor of Ms. MacLaine's character shows wisdom and color beyond her (many) years. Should-be Hollywood legend Norman Lloyd has a warm and heartfelt role as a hospital patient who has much to offer. Mr. Lloyd has quietly put together an incredible career as Actor, Director and Producer and should receive more recognition for his accomplishments. My personal favorite was his role as the head of TV's underrated "St. Elsewhere" from the 1980's.
I hope the trailer does not prevent men from seeing the film as I believe this is one of the best of the year. Kudos to Mr. Hanson - he scores again!
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