When a woman tries to outwit her husband's sexy young mistress, the unexpected consequences include starring as King Lear in a very amateur production - with the mistress, an aspiring actress, playing The Fool.
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William T. Bolson
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Two women who meet by chance make a pact to fix their unhappy lives: they will each do what the other one says. But one of them has a secret. She knows her husband is sleeping with the younger woman. Madelyn's plan backfires when Lucy, an aspiring actress, orders her to play King Lear in a very amateur production, with Lucy playing the Fool. Madelyn's life is transformed in unexpected ways as, like Lear, she struggles with matters of mortality and betrayal, loyalty and love. Written by
This is an intelligent and funny movie, well worth watching, even if for the first act alone. Harden and Watling are genuinely entertaining to watch. They have great chemistry, playing off each other beautifully. The film's only flaws are in the somewhat uneven plot, and a couple of very minor characters with sub-par acting -- the waitress in the opening scene must be surely be the producer's sister or something.
The first act is surprisingly great. I literally laughed out loud. The concept is also super fun and intriguing. Marcia Gay Harden's every move is perfect as Madeline, the prim and proper, confused working wife. Leonor Watling also gives a wonderful performance as Lucy. She gives Lucy exactly the right blend of naïvete, savviness, and genuine innocence, which allows us to care about Lucy even if she doesn't always do the right thing.
The second act continues at a pretty good pace. However, to keep from dragging, the middle of the movie craved a couple of extra plot complications.
In the third act, the tone of the movie shifts considerably. Now If I Were You is a drama, and a major new character is introduced. The story would have been even stronger if it could have retained more of the fun-loving spirit of the first act.
Overall, If I Were You gets a 6.5 . . . since that's not an option, 7.
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