I'm on a winning streak at the box office and I don't want it to end.
This week's offering was the lovely and amazing Friends with Money by writer/director Nicole Holofcener, who also created the lovely and amazing Walking and Talking and Lovely & Amazing.
The film is about four female friends approaching or just past the treacherous turning point age of 40, who are struggling with themselves, each other, the men in their lives and the unique urban challenges of life in affluent, present-day Los Angeles. Holofcener has an uncanny, laser-guided ability to glean heart-rending truths from the smallest moments of life. Her finely crafted dialogue and sensitive direction are a glory to behold.
Nathan Rabin expresses it well in this excerpt from his A.V. Club review:
"Holofcener possesses a genius for creating exquisitely realized characters who seem to have led full, rich, complicated lives before the film's first scene takes place, and will go on living complex, idiosyncratic existences long after they disappear from the screen."
And Holofcener's got a knack for picking just the right actors. Jennifer Aniston plays it admirably low-key as a directionless housekeeper. Catherine Keener and Joan Cusack give solid and sad-eyed performances. Francis McDormand is absolutely tremendous and anchors the emotional heart of the film as an angry, depressed and inexplicably discontented fashion designer who has a seemingly perfect life. Simon McBurney deserves a special shout-out for his terrific showing as a cashmere-loving and otherwise-loving husband to Francis.
In DVD news, I recently rented the foreign film Head-On by the award-winning, 32-year-old, Turkish/German writer/director Fatih Akin.
In Head-On, a down-on-his-luck club worker, played by the smoldering Birol Unel, is hospitalized after what appears to be an attempted suicide. In the mental ward, he is pursued by another suicidal patient played by the simply mesmerizing Sibel Kekilli. The story of their romance is a train wreck in the making, but it seduces with its dark energy. It's brutal and bruising to watch, but brilliant and beautiful to behold (a la Gaspar Noe's Irreversible).