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In Her Shoes
The sibling relationship can be a difficult challenge, I know, because I'm the youngest of three. My sister is older by close to nine years and we got along really well, my brother on the other hand, who is only five years older, is a completely different story. We fought constantly, as most brothers will do, but more than that we were down right mean to each other. And I honestly never thought that it would get any better. That is, until we both grew up and slowly it did. It's funny that as we were growing up, all I ever wanted was for him to leave me alone and I now try to see him when ever I'm able to.
The new movie In Her Shoes starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MaClaine follows the tenuous relationship with two sisters, both opposites of each other, and the grandmother they never knew they had until they became adults. Maggie (Diaz) has the body that excites men and she uses it get to where ever she wants to go, compensating in a way for the fact that she never made it past high school education-wise. When she isn't using her looks, she uses her sister Rose (Collette). Rose is her polar opposite; a successful attorney who has everything, but a love life. Her body is not the kind that excites men, or so she thinks. The only things that these two women have in common are a love of shoes and the same shoe size, and luckily for Maggie, Rose has all the best shoes a woman could want.
When Maggie is kicked out of their family house by their self-absorbed and malicious stepmother, she moves in with Rose, again. But when Rose pressures Maggie to find a job, and Maggie wrecks her car, her home, and sleeps with her boyfriend; Rose kicks Maggie out. Rose, who knew her sister could be wreckless, never expected this betrayal, and is set on a downward spiral where she is forced to confront the decisions she has made in her life. She takes a sabbatical from work and begins walking dogs. Maggie discovers letters that she and her sister were never given, from a grandmother (MaClaine) they thought was dead and takes a train to Florida to milk her for every penny.
In Florida, Maggie discovers her grandmother Ella is smarter then she is, and isn't going to be able to milk her for all she's worth. She begins to work at a nursing home and bonds with the patients, especially one who teaches her how to read and makes her feel smarter for probably the first time in her life. Maggie also bonds with her grandmother, and in return is
able to learn more about her mother that died when she was younger. Back home, Rose manages to catch the eye of a good man who works at her firm and always had his eye on her. His name is Simon(Mark Feuerstein(What Women Want)
and he is a good guy. As their relationship progresses Simon wants to know more about her life, but Rose keeps her relationship with Maggie a secret. But, when her grandmother finds her address, Rose and Maggie are forced to confront each other and the truth about their family history.
This film is based on a novel by Jennifer Weiner and the screenplay was adapted by Susanna Grant, who wrote Erin Brockovich. Curtis Hanson director of L.A. Confidential, directs with real understanding. The material could have been unbearable, but Hanson and Grant honor the source material, don't short change any of these characters, and find the human comedy in this story. This is an ensemble, despite the deceiving poster featuring only Diaz, who delivers a solid performance for the first time in a long time. She is perfectly cast, playing up her image as the beautiful screw up who doesn't take life seriously, but in this role is allowed to show the evolution of a woman who must grow up if she wants a real life. Toni Collette is a character actress who gives a movie star performance that is layered and nuanced. She allows you to feel and see everything through her eyes, and I think audiences will be demanding to see her in more lead roles after this film. Shirley MaClaine playing against type, is heartbreaking and true in an award caliber performance, as the widowed grandmother who is lonely and shut down because she believes she failed at life and doesn't deserve a second chance at happiness.
These three women share perfect chemistry, in a film about the complicated relationships between siblings, and never is it turned into about finding the right man or losing weight or getting a great job. This movie made me laugh, but digs deeper, and I believe audiences will come out surprised and rewarded from the experience.
Movie Grade: A
Maggie is fun-loving and irresponsible. Her older sister Rose is a high-powered lawyer who watches Maggie’s wild life with distain. When an attempt to live together fails miserably, they go off in different directions to find the missing pieces in their lives. Based on the book by Jennifer Weiner.