November 11, 2013
Masterful performances, fine writing
Writer director Nicole Holofcener has won me over with this one, and I'm glad we're beginning to see more women writers and directors taking on or creating substantive material. Essentially, this is a story about a warm, good-hearted charmer with an imperfect body and a woman who overcomes her initial reluctance and falls for him, then begins to allow some destructive influences to undermine her affection for him. As others have noted, there's great pleasure in seeing these two first-rate performers interact with dialogue that seems so uncannily natural and in-the-moment one can hardly believe it's been scripted by a writer and memorized by the actors -- except that it's sharper, sweeter and wittier than the talk we hear around us. While some might play the role way over the top and push it into caricature, Catherine Keener remains eminently believable as the successful contemporary poet, a certain type of poet. (I know this type of poet. But, happily, they're not all like that.)
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