October 21, 2005
Shopgirl / In Her Shoes
This week I've seen two movies based on books I haven't read. Yet. Two nights in a row I've left a screening room wiping away messy tears. (It's not pretty when I cry. When I've had a long jag, the next day I've got frog eyes.)
Shopgirl has the quality of a modern fairy tale. And like true fairy tales, there is darkness that causes pain but also generates transformation. But then life is like that too. Claire Danes is a wonder as Mirabelle Buttersfield, with great turns by Steve Martin and Jason Schwartzman as well. Yes, this film is a romantic comedy, but it strikes a sharp, fine balance between the surreal and the all-too-real experience of love.
In Her Shoes is another movie I went into without expectation. Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette are Maggie and Rose, sisters who love and exasperate each other in equal parts. Rose is an overachiever who rewards herself with gorgeous shoes she never wears. Maggie gets by on her looks and borrowing from Rose's closet without permission. A sudden rift forms between them, forcing each sister to face the highs and lows in their lives on their own, to find themselves and yet somehow find a way back to each other. Shirley Maclaine is the grandmother they rediscover. So it's a movie about sisters, about family, about loss and hurt and finding a way to get past that, about reinvention and taking chances with life.