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A Long Way Down

MV5BMTc0MTg0MDI2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzM4MDYwMTE@._V1_SX214_AL_Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Pierce Brosnan, Aaron Paul

Four people meet on a roof top in London on New Year’s Eve – they are potential ‘jumpers’. The disgraced talk show host, the single mother, the politician’s daughter, and the mediocre American rock star are randomly thrown together and awkwardly form a sort of support group for each other.

The group sign a pact that they will not commit suicide before Valentine’s Day. A lot happens to them in the next month, but at least now they have each other to lean on. Who will make it and decide to live life, and who will not?

Although this film is pegged as a comedy/drama, there is room for a bit of romantic action. All four actors do a pretty good job with this Hornby novel, particularly Collette who never fails to perform expertly in these kinds of roles.

I’m not over-excited about this flick, but nor am I overly critical. It does flow well, the story hangs together easily, and it contains some touching issues. It’s worth a watch, mainly because Toni Collette is such a terrific actor.

 

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Enough Said

MV5BMjI2MjIwMDk2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTQ1MzQ5OQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Tracey Fairaway, Ben Falcone

Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) meets Albert (Gandolfini) at a party and they become romantically involved. Both are divorced, and have daughters leaving for college, so they have a lot in common. It looks like they could have a real relationship starting. But when Eva befriends Albert’s ex-wife, Marianne (Keener), she starts to hear all about Albert’s faults. Is he really the man for her after all?

From the moment Julia Louis-Dreyfus stepped out of her Prius in her earthy sandals, I knew I was going to enjoy this film!

Each of the characters have been carefully created with a fine eye for detail, and this does make a huge difference to the quality of the film – noted and appreciated. The dialogue is quite flawless and expertly delivered from Louis-Dreyfus and Collette (as the best friend).

It is becoming increasingly more common to see 40 and 50-something-year-old women as the main protagonists in mainstream rom coms. They aren’t made to look younger, they are given the space to be 40 and 50-something-year-old women, and this too, is noted and appreciated.

This is an extremely enjoyable film for the more mature lover of romantic comedies.

 

The Way Way Back

MV5BNTU5ODk5NDg0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzQwMjI1OQ@@._V1_SX214_Liam James, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, AnnaSophia Robb, Amanda Peet, Rob Corddry

Young Duncan is on holidays with his mother, his mother’s boyfriend, and the boyfriend’s teenage daughter. But he’s not happy – he’s 14, awkward, unsure about his mother’s relationship, and a bit lost overall.

He meets Owen, played by Rockwell, at the local water park. Owen gives Duncan a summer job, recognising a kid who needs to come out of his shell. He teaches Duncan that life isn’t always what you want it to be, you have to make your own happiness. The friendship they form is exactly what Duncan desperately needs.

This is a terrific coming of age film, and a film about all sorts of relationships. Maya Rudolph is a lovely actor, and she and Allison Janney provide a lot of the humour along with Rockwell.

The Way Way Back is definitely a film worth watching more than once. It rolls along at a great pace, has a range of interesting characters, makes you laugh, and makes you want to see what happens after it’s finished. Make sure you put it on your list.

Mental

MV5BMTc1NjQ1OTA1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTk0NzcwOQ@@._V1_SX214_Toni Collette, Rebecca Gibney, Deborah Mailman, Anthony LaPaglia, Trevor Blundell

The Moochmore family consists of mother Shirley, father Barry, and five rather unconventional girls. Shirley has a breakdown and leaves town. Her philandering, small town, politician husband hardly even knows who his girls are, let alone being able to take care of them in their mother’s absence. So he finds Shaz, a drifter, to take things in hand. Shaz certainly shakes things up – all the girls think they are suffering from some sort of mental illness, but in the end Shaz makes them, and Shirley, believe in themselves.

However, Shaz is on her own quest involving her daughter and husband, a quest which calls in to question her own mental state.

I didn’t like this flick at all. It had serious Crocodile Dundee overtones throughout, and then I noticed it was written by Paul Hogan.

I do believe Toni Collette to be one of the best Australian actors ever. However, she did an appalling job at Shaz – overdoing the rough Aussie accent. Similarly I didn’t like Deborah Mailman’s portrayal of  Sandra, it was just too simple and crude.

There was some talk about the way mental illness was treated in this film, but the absurd acting had me flummoxed and left me with no room to think about other issues.

About a Boy

Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz, Toni Collette, Nicholas Hoult

Based on the novel by Nick Hornby, Hugh Grant plays the ever-so-cool Will – he’s an island, he’s Ibiza, he needs no-one in his life except himself. He has a series of short term relationships with women. Eventually he starts targeting single mums for dates, believing that they need the sex but not the long term commitment. But single mums turn out to be a little more complicated than he imagined.

He meets a very uncool 12 year old boy called Marcus, who drags Will kicking and screaming into his life with his depressed single mum, Fiona (played by Collette). Marcus is trying anything to cure Fiona and thinks Will could help. Will tries to stay out of their way, but he can’t, Marcus won’t let him. It seems as if Marcus needs him, but in the end, it’s Will who needs them more. He find some-one he wants to have a long term relationship with and realises that his island life is empty and shallow and he needs to let people in.

I have always loved this movie. Hugh Grant is excellent, as is Toni Collete. They are two actors who can rarely do wrong, especially when they play roles that suit them, like Will and Fiona. The script doesn’t introduce too many characters too quickly, so you have enough time to get to know each one. All the parts are meaningful, the comedy is subtle, it has a great soundtrack, and there is a solid rom com ending. This is one film that has always been worth having in the DVD collection.

In Her Shoes

Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, Shirley Maclaine

Collette and Diaz play two sisters – Rose and Maggie. Rose is the successful one – mature, owns her own place, works as a lawyer, but is ultimately unhappy with a cupboard full of shoes she doesn’t wear and a truck load of self-esteem issues. Maggie is sexy, immature, irresponsible, (would love Rose’s cupboard full of shoes) and is unfulfilled. After a fight involving Rose’s boyfriend, Maggie, with nowhere else to go, decides to look up the grandmother she never knew they had and goes to live with her (Maclaine). The split between the sisters leaves them with a void, but it also enables them to start dealing with their own personal issues.

This is a terrific film with great performances from Diaz, Collette (of course, she can do no wrong) and Maclaine. They are quite typical roles for Diaz and for Maclaine, and they fit the characters perfectly. Not everyone finds romance in the end, but it is definitely a happy ending with lots of feeling good moments. One for the rom com collection.