Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA, 2001. Blow Up Pictures, Good Machine. Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener. Cinematography by Harlan Bosmajian. Produced by Anthony Bregman, Eric d’Arbeloff, Ted Hope. Music by Craig Richey. Production Design by Devorah Herbert. Costume Design by Vanessa Vogel. Film Editing by Robert Frazen. Independent Spirit Awards 2002. Toronto International Film Festival 2001.
Nicole Holofcener has fashioned a film that lives up to its title, one populated by complicated women who are notable female anti-heroes. Brenda Blethyn is the mother of three daughters, two adults (Catherine Keener, Emily Mortimer) and one adopted ten year-old (Raven Goodwin in an excellent debut). As matriarch, Blethyn sets the pace for her daughters’ insecurities about their looks when she undergoes a simple, outpatient liposuction procedure that inevitably turns into massive hospitalization for blood poisoning. Keener is a one-time high school homecoming queen who is now a housewife and unemployed, while Mortimer is a burgeoning film actress who is subject to all the physical scrutiny that comes with trying to make it in her business. Goodwin is an emotionally damaged girl whose entire life is spent being criticized for her weight and sloppy eating habits. The examination of these women is fascinating, watching them head from bad to worse until their lives threaten to completely explode in the story’s climax before they finally achieve a state of grace with each other. They are headstrong and independent and yet cannot seem to escape their own vulnerabilities as subjects of popular culture. Magnificent.