'Lovely and Amazing' a
solid, touching film
By Andrew Beard
The Daily Cougar
It's guaranteed that every other five minutes
on MTV, Britney Spears will appear in a sexually explicit outfit gyrating
her body parts in all directions and
singing lyrics like "Hit me baby one more
time." How is this effective? For guys, well that's obvious, but for women
this new genre of teen pop gives
rise to a wide range of topics. And Lovely
and Amazing indirectly touches on these current female issues.
In one of the best directed films of the
year, Nicole Holofcener gently moves the story between three women, a mother
and her two daughters, as
they venture down three separate paths
of self-destruction. This may not sound like a good premise for a comedy,
but each character stays in touch
with reality, causing the comedic flow
to seem natural instead of relying on the standard punch lines.
Jane Marks, played by Brenda Blethyn, is
a divorcee with two rail-thin daughters, Michelle and Elizabeth, and one
adopted African-American daughter
named Annie. After several failed relationships
and an increasingly feeling of loneliness, Jane decides to get liposuction.
Any first-week medical
student could have taken a look and suggested
otherwise, but with the help of a flirtatious plastic surgeon, she agrees.
Some of the best and most original scenes
occur when Jane and Annie, her mildly overweight eight-year-old, discuss
the surgery. After Jane
explains that feeling better about herself
will require ten pounds of body fat to be sucked from her thighs, Annie,
becomes convinced that her body is
no longer acceptable.
Jane's two adult daughters, Michelle, played
by Catherine Keener, and Elizabeth, played by Emily Mortimer, help cause
their mother's downfall as
they traumatize their own lives as well.
Michelle, a former homecoming queen, exists
in a loveless marriage where her and her husband merely talk at one another.
Michelle is the most
interesting character in the movie. She
has no patience for anyone and frequently uses her favorite phrase, "(expletive
Elizabeth is the antithesis of her older
sister. As a natural beauty, she's convinced otherwise as she puts herself
through humiliating model shoots
and acting auditions with directors who
pounce on her insecurities. Her life involves a revolving door of men with
her current boyfriend on the way out.
One day she asks him, "Do you find me
sexy?" and he replies, " I would like to have sex with you."
As expected, Jane's surgery has complications
and Annie is reluctantly passed onto the two older sisters. The three engage
in a series of
conversations, which at first seem annoying,
but later become relevant.
The writing in the movie is superb. Every
character is void of cliches. The mother refrains from judging her daughters
and stamping her feet every
time they make a mistake. All the characters
eventually find separate resolutions without the movie turning into a sobfest
that ends with a group hug.
For future references, if the title Lions
Gate Films flashes on the screen before the movie, you're almost guaranteed
to enjoy it. The relatively small
production company steadily pumps out
respectable films, such as Frailty, Monster's Ball and Cat's Meow, and
has never spent more than $20
a movie, which sounds hefty, but it's the
same amount Tom Cruise gets paid for each film.