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Lovely by Surprise (2007)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  14 June 2007 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 155 users  
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A truly unique and visually stunning take on meta-fiction, Lovely By Surprise follows the journey of novelist Marian Walker as she attempts to finish her first novel.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Marian
...
Humkin
...
Jackson
...
Mopekey
...
Bob
...
Helen
...
Dave
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jimmy Crothswait ...
Milkman
...
Customer #2
...
Customer #1
Ron Gephart ...
Car Salesman
Angel Gunn ...
Mimi's Teacher
...
Car Salesman
Lena Lamer ...
Mimi
Donald Meyers ...
Customer in Car
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Storyline

A truly unique and visually stunning take on meta-fiction, Lovely By Surprise follows the journey of novelist Marian Walker as she attempts to finish her first novel.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

14 June 2007 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Austin Pendleton was offered the role of Bob but asked to audition for Jackson after Frank Langella turned it down. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Marian: Hey, I was writing this thing, and I believe in it. It can be good.
Jackson: Of course.
Marian: And I just couldn't get over the hugeness of writing a novel. I mean, the enormity of it. And I didn't feel this way until I got to this hard moment in the book. And now I can't seem to recover it. I keep shutting down when I try to write. It's scary.
Jackson: That's not a new problem for writers, of course, you know.
Marian: But it passes, and books are written, and life resumes again. Right?
Jackson: Only if you write.
Marian: Sounds ...
[...]
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User Reviews

 
Caught an early screening of this gem at the Core Club...
2 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Lovely by Surprise (2009), the picturesque film by writer-director Kirt Gunn, is a delight for the senses that made me want to go home and tell my family I love them.

Marian (Carrie Preston) is a writer struggling with the creative process and so confides in her former professor, lover and mentor, Jackson (Austin Pendleton). Her novel begins as a post-modern version of Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Marian is writing the story of two underwear-clad brothers, Humkin (Michael Chernus) and Mopekey (Dallas Roberts) who reside on a boat in no particular time or space. Mopekey is complacent in this world Marian has created, whereas Humkin eventually becomes curious about the world outside of the boat.

Jackson convinces Marian she has no choice but to kill Humkin, her beloved, inquisitive protagonist. But, chaos ensues when Humkin takes control of his own fate, escaping this chapter of her novel and writing himself into the pages of her past.

Humkin leaves his world behind and becomes a newfound companion to Bob (Reg Rogers), a philosophical car-salesman. Bob turns the superficial relationship between a car salesman and his clients, into an intimate connection on a very personal level. Unfortunately, he is unable to get through to his unresponsive young daughter Mimi, who cannot bring herself to speak.

Lovely by Surprise should be seen for its variation from other films. The film has been compared to Stranger than Fiction (2006) in the sense it is a story involving the power and the unpredictability of the creative process. However, it is more similar to its other association, Adaptation (2002) as it's evident the script hasn't been weakened in any way — resulting in an original and provocative story for a smart audience with eccentricities galore.

The vague familiarity of this talented cast serves the tone, which blurs the lines between reality and fiction. Their performances are brilliant and distinct, a little more organic, a little less stylized than say, a Hal Hartley film. Carrie Preston, who plays the lead, Marian, has been featured in a myriad of popular TV shows and feature films including most recently Duplicity (2009), "True Blood" and Doubt (2008). Austin Pendleton who has been cast in everything from Catch-22 (1970) to Finding Nemo (2003)--with My Cousin Vinny (1992) somewhere in between--provides a hilarious contrast for Marian's anxieties. Michael Chernus and Dallas Roberts perfectly execute the pure, child-like sense of wonderment as the brothers on the boat. Reg Rogers steals every scene as the oxy-moron that is a charming car salesman and vulnerable father.

Lovely by Surprise is comprised of heart-warming scenes making the audience care for the characters in a way that reflects how deeply Marian feels for the personalities she has created. The peculiar behavior and interaction between these endearing characters keeps the viewer engaged until finally their stories come together in a gratifying culmination at very the end of the film.


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