Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Catherine Keener, Brenda Blethyn, Emily Mortimer, Raven Goodwin, Aunjanue Ellis
Director: Nicole Holofcener
This film follows the lives of a family of four women – the mother Jane (Brenda Blethyn), the oldest daughter Michelle (Catherine Keener), the last born Elizabeth (Emily Mortimer) and the adopted African-American eight year old Annie (Raven Goodwin).
Michelle is in her late thirties, does not have a job, struggles to sell her pieces of art unsuccessfully and is stuck with a very unenthusiastic husband. All she has going for her is her young daughter. Elizabeth is in her late twenties, is an upcoming actress, takes stray dogs home with her, suffers from self-doubt and has a boyfriend who constantly puts her down. Annie eats too much, is obsessed with her hair and basically thinks that she can do whatever she wants to do. Jane is trying to recapture bits of her youth and so checks into a clinic for some cosmetic surgery, liposuction to be exact. Jane’s operation brings the family closer together and helps them to put things into perspective after a few interesting situations.
Brenda Blethyn’s performance is excellent, delivering a sense of realism and honesty to the mother’s character. The rest of the cast handle their characters well particularly Raven Goodwin who is very good at giving Annie the right amount of stubbornness that is so common with eight year olds in this day and age.
Whilst Nicole Holofcener’s direction is adequate, she keeps the film at a relaxed pace, she unsuccessfully tries to blend drama with comedy although the film is still a fairly entertaining look at a typical female American family.