The plot revolves around a young married woman whose mundane life takes a turn for the worse when she strikes up a passionate and illicit affair with an oddball discount-store stock boy who thinks he's Holden Caulfield.Written by
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As a girl you see the world as a giant candy store filled with sweet candy and such. But one day you look around and you see a prison and you're on death row. You wanna run or scream or cry but something's locking you up. Are the other folks cows chewing cud until the hour comes when their heads roll? Or are they just keeping quiet like you, planning their escape.
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Justine works at a supermarket in a small town and is married to her underachieving painter husband. She feels trapped and unable to deal with the stagnant pool that is her life. When a mysteriously dark young man begins to work at the supermarket she gets involved with him as a way out of her normal life into something more exciting. However things get much more exciting that she expected.
Rented by my wife as she searched for something in a sort of comedy/drama. As always she has pretty good judgement and better taste than I give her credit for. I had heard reasonable things about this film but I wasn't sure if it would just be another Friends clone comedy. Happily my fears were not realised and this film is actually quite a brave shot at being a character study rather than another one of her hollow rom-coms. The plot looks at an ordinary woman who is living a life that is far below what she thought she wanted. It is not spectacular but it works well on this level. We see her pursue her supposed dream but only getting sucked into other things that she doesn't want for her life. Not all the drama works as well as others and some twists and scenes are a little too much for such a low-key film.
The film has some laughs in it, but not so many that it hurts the main drama of the film. At times the comedy works well to compliment the main thread but occasionally it is misjudged and threatens to take away from it a bit. The fact that the film is quite down beat and low-key might put some off as it doesn't really set the screen on fire, however what it does do well is develop the character of Justine as you watch the film.
As such the film does rely on the acting and the majority of it is very good. As much as I dislike her performance in Friends (and thus every repeat she's done in the films), Aniston does very well here and her Justine is as far from her Rachael as is needed. Likewise her character is as far from any life she has ever lived, but she brings it to life and does develop well while still keeping it down to earth and relatable. Reilly and Nelson have good roles that get better as the film goes on and they give good performances. Nelson has the harder job of keeping his character within some sort of relatable reality and he does it well. Gyllenhaal's character is harder to get and is not treated as well by the film, but in essence he is the driver for Justine's journey and is developed well enough to do that. He plays him well and, with Donnie Darko, is in danger of only getting the `weirdo kid' roles.
Overall this is a good film that is maybe too downbeat and understated to be really called enjoyable. It is good to see a Hollywood star make a film that is driven by her character and she rises to the challenge and gives a performance that, although not earth shattering, is certainly better than all the stuff she's been doing of late.
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