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Lovely and Amazing
2002 - R - 89 Mins.
Director: Nicole Holofcenar
Producer: Anthony Bregman, Michael Escott, Debra Grieco, Ted Hope, Michael Kafka
Written By: Nicole Holofcenar
Starring: Brenda Blethyn, Catherine Keener, Emily Mortimer, Raven Goodwin, Romy Rosemont
Review by: Joe Rickey
   
Jane Marks (Brenda Blethyn) is the mother of three daughters who seem to have nothing in common except for their shared idealism, vanity, and above all, insecurity. The eldest daughter Michelle (Catherine Keener), a former high school homecoming queen, is trapped in a marriage with a man who doesn’t appreciate one bit her strange dabs at things artistic. Younger sister Elizabeth (Emily Mortimer) is an aspiring actress who believes that her career is about to soar into the stratosphere. She has been regularly playfully teased for her habit of taking home stray dogs and saving them. The youngest daughter, Annie (Raven Goodwin) is slowly becoming just like her older sisters in that she has lately become very vain and spends hours worrying about her appearance. This worries Jane because she would like for at least one of her daughters to grow up to be a normal woman.

As scripted by director Nicole Holofcenar, Lovely and Amazing is a humorous portrait of a very eccentric family that is amusing to behold because of each one’s eccentricities. The eccentricities though aren’t the only notable character traits or else the film risks having characters that are nothing more than caricatures. The dialog is sharp and very witty at times. The film also contains some more serious plot points that sidestep becoming too corny or heavy-handed. The only problem with the plot of the film is that if you have seen other similar films, you will find this film to be predictable and slow at times. The film definitely doesn’t contain many surprises within. The direction by Holofcenar is above average. She smartly includes a few camera tricks to keep one’s interest if they find the storyline predictable. It is in this way that even the predictability of portions of the film are easily digested. Holofcenar paces the film fairly well though so this does not ever become too much of a problem.

The acting is superb overall. Blethyn portrays a caring and loving mother who has finally realized the problem she had in raising her daughters and attempts to fix it. It is a shame that Blethyn does not get many roles in big Hollywood productions because she has oodles of talent and is deserving of a starring role in a high profile film. Keener is her usual witty and endearing self. She embodies the multiple habits of her vain character with aplomb. Mortimer gives perhaps the weakest performance in the film because she comes across as a very self-important person who believes that she is more important than other people. Goodwin is good enough as the youngest daughter but she doesn’t make much of an impression either way to stand out.

The cinematography by Harlan Bosmajian is stunning with the sun-glistening tops of many water sources being a common theme throughout the film and reinforced by the cinematography.

Overall, Lovely and Amazing is a solid entry into the family relationship/coming of age genre put over the top by great performances by much of the cast and a smart script.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

 
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