Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lovely and Amazing

Three people told me to watch it. I did. I didn't get it.

Usually if three people tell me to read something or watch something, I can see what it is they want me to see. Not so much this time.

In his review in the New York Times, Stephen Holden said, "As smart and observant as it is, Lovely and Amazing doesn't really go anywhere. ...the movie expertly evokes the rivalry percolating just below the surface of the Markses' relationships. But once family members have weathered their personal crises, little seems to have changed."

At the end of Lovely and Amazing, my feeling was, "May, everybody hates their body, just like you do. You are neurotic and ridiculous like the women in this movie. And stop with the throw pillows, already."


Anonymous said...

Sorry you didn't like it. I happen to think Stephen Holden is a rotten critic, so I'm not attaching any credence to his comments.

I think you missed the point of the movie -- you are not neurotic and ridiculous and neither are the women in the movie. It's a comment on how society makes women feel about themselves and how physical beauty can only equal thinness and perfection. It's not just that a 50-ish mother would jeopardize her life with cosmetic surgery but that someone as beautiful as Emily Mortimer believes herself to be so flawed and unattractive that she would let a smug, shallow actor critique her while she stands naked in front of him.

And of course the movie was about relationships between sisters and mothers and daughters.

And watching the adopted daughter arrange the throw pillows scene at the end of the movie made me cry. I say: Bring on the throw pillows.

May Voirrey said...

Actually, I liked the movie quite a bit. I even watched it all in one sitting, which is pretty rare for me!

As I watched it, though, my feeling was that it was the mother and two daughters who were giving themselves negative messages about appearance and standards of beauty. It didn't seem like anyone else in the story was ever implying that these women were substandard. The concept of ideal appearance was a family issue, not a cultural one.

The youngest daughter was obviously absorbing all of those messages as she started to parrot what her sisters and mother valued. I really identified that she justified all of her food, but didn't really feel any actual guilt about eating. She heard but didn't believe what her family said: These cookies are the fat-free kind. and with an array of menu items spread out before her at McDonlad's, I couldn't decide what to order. I'm not going to finish it. Are you going to drink that?

It seemed to me that in their family, each person's dislike of self came from inside, even though all of them actually had the unconditional love she craved be it from a mother, a daughter, or a dog. They just couldn't believe anyone would accept them "as is."

Anonymous said...

Sound like anyone you know? :-) I think the filmmaker's point is that most women feel that way, no matter what they look like or what their situation is.