295 Great Directors: Nicole Holofcener

“To say you want to be a director is to risk sounding obnoxious, pretentious, arrogant, and I think women are more fearful of sounding that way than men are.”


Why This Director?
: Nothing wrong with slightly middlebrow directors when the material is as good as Enough Said, so I say watch some more Holofcener.

My Last Experience Was…: The great Enough Said.

What Did I Watch: Harvest 3000 Years, Bush Mama, and Sankofa (so all the remaining features minus Teza since I’ve been watching too many modernish movies for this).

Where Does She Fit: Walking and Talking features Holofcener’s trademark of having a lot of storylines that add detail to the world but are not too good at fleshing out the plot, yet this is done in the same fun way as Enough Said, with a “slightly too long but it works” duration until Laura’s boyfriend proposes, while Amelia struggles to deal with the shifting nature of their friendship and, more worryingly, Laura’s complete inability to comprehend that marriage changes outside friendships irrevocably. I think a better title for this would have been Boundaries or some such thing, because it turns into a dissection of Amelia’s refusal to respect them, in different ways, with the various people in her life even if the root causes are reasonable. But haven’t we all stalked down an ugly dude who we had a fling with, and then shrieked at someone who left a badly time phone message?

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Catherine Keener is arguably even better in Lovely and Amazing than in Walking and Talking, and the film provides good reason for this outside of a deeply unfortunate scene early on where she yell-mutters “Bitch” after dealing with rude art gallery clients, getting a gloomy arc that feels like a continuation where she struggles with affection yet again. The rest of her family is doing pretty badly too, ranging from an actress sister who adopts too many dogs, a mom with liposuction problems, and an adopted black eight year old with weight and image problems related to being the only black one. She winds in all the coping issues and dynamics that they inflict upon each other without seeming incredibly thematic, and that is why I like her, since I have a big soft spot for well written middlebrow stuff.

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Most Valuable Asset: She’s sort of like a modern female Wyler in her appreciation of character complexity/performer skill and basic but effective camera work…but this means she writes more realistically, particularly with her female characters, as a result.
Most Excited For: Is she still attached for that Lenore Israel adaptation? *checks* Oh, well, she wrote the script. And I guess there’s Please Give/Friends With Money even if they’re not very well liked.

Coming Up Next: Two hit wonder Michael Roemer.

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