"Lovely and Amazing"
Directed by Nicole Holofcener.
Written by Nicole Holofcener.
Starring Catherine Keener, Emily Mortimer and Brenda Blethyn.
Release Year: 2001
Review Date: 7/24/02
film group I hang with went to see “Lovely & Amazing” this past
weekend, so since I am unemployed and spend most of my days looking
out the window, I figured
Shit, I’ll hang out!
“Lovely & Amazing” stars Catherine Keener,
Brenda Blethyn and Emily Mortimer as three women that are living out
problematic lives. Michelle (Keener) is involved in a failing
marriage, and her struggling crafts career is going nowhere mostly
because she is putting in no effort to sell her wares. Her sister
Elizabeth (Mortimer) is a struggling actress and model that
possesses no self-confidence in her abilities and no love at home
from her boyfriend (James Le Gros). Their mother, Jane (Blethyn),
who has adopted an eight-year-old black girl named Annie (Raven
Goodwin), wants to look better and decides to have liposuction
performed to sheer ten pounds off of her gut.
And, over the course of the 90-minute film,
writer/director Nicole Holofcener profiles her characters over the
span of a few days, rather than lay out any particular plot to lead
the characters towards a resolution. As one guy that is in the
group said that night after the film, he was just waiting for when
he could “leave the world of the self-centered bitch”, because
that’s what all three women seem to have in common. Keener’s
performance as Michelle, in particular, sums up the essence of
“Lovely & Amazing”—whenever she is presented with a problem, she
tells off whoever is involved to “fuck off”, as if that will solve
any of the myriad problems that she is facing. I couldn’t tell if
Holofcener was trying to paint these characters as good people with
problems, bad people that are just now realizing how messed up they
are, bad people that are bad and just don’t give a damn...maybe it
was neither, but as a guy, I was lost on why Michelle should be so
upset that she isn’t selling anything but is putting in no effort to
sell her artwork, or why she takes up with a one-hour photo employee
(Jake Gyllenhaal, “Donnie Darko”) that is 20 years younger than her.
Or why Mortimer’s Elizabeth comes to realize
so late that maybe she isn’t as sexy as she would like to be, or why
she is always complaining about situations that she herself sets
up. I asked myself “You want some cheese with that whine, trick?”
about five times during “Lovely & Amazing”, but I never did enjoy
the resolutions that Holofcener comes up with for her characters.
As a whole, there are some great things in
“Lovely & Amazing”—Mortimer’s performance in particular is very
intriguing, including an incredible sequence where she asks a lover
to go over the positives and negatives about her body; by far, this
is the best scene in the film. Supporting turns by Goodwin,
Gyllenhaal, Dermot Mulroney, and Aunjanue Ellis (from the earlier
“Undercover Brother”) are very good, and the script has some pretty
good laughs sprinkled throughout. The cinematography is not very
inventive or interesting, and the score is nothing to write home
about. But, this is one of those movies where I just got mad
watching the lead females at times, partially because they were
using odd logic and partially because I KNOW women like
Elizabeth—hot, so hot that she appears in Vogue at one point early
in the film, but she needs constant confirmation that she really is
beautiful and deserving of such an honor.
Not great, but not too bad either. “Lovely
& Amazing” pushes some buttons, I can at least give it that.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard