Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA/Germany/The Netherlands, 2002. Flan de Coco Films, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Hungry Eye Lowland Pictures B.V., In-Motion AG Movie & TV Productions, Myriad Pictures, World Media Fonds V. Screenplay by Mike White. Cinematography by Enrique Chediak. Produced by Matthew Greenfield. Music by Tony Maxwell, James O’Brien, Mark Orton, Joey Waronker. Production Design by Daniel Bradford. Costume Design by Nancy Steiner. Film Editing by Jeff Betancourt. Independent Spirit Awards 2002. National Board of Review Awards 2002. Online Film Critics Awards 2002.
Jennifer Aniston plays a bored retail clerk living in Nowheresville, Texas whose life is spiced up when she meets moody Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal), another clerk at her store. After years of going home to her mundane husband (John C. Reilly), who spends most of his time smoking pot with his housepainting co-worker and buddy (Tim Blake Nelson), Holden’s youth and vitality give her something new to look forward to. Unfortunately, it isn’t until after she begins an affair with him that she realizes that the life she has hated for so long is starting to look good now that it is being threatened; Holden’s inability to stay emotionally even is also not impressing her too much. America’s Heartland is ripped wide open by Chris White’s brilliant screenplay and Miguel Arteta’s mature direction, though they pale in comparison to the marvelous work done by Aniston. She finds an incredible wealth of emotion at the centre of this woman’s dry life, and she serves it up wholeheartedly for her audience.