Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Shopgirl, she said 4.2

She did it again. Claire Danes never disappoints - wait, no that is right. I cannot think of a movie when I was not floored by her performance (so maybe Romeo and Juliet was a little disappointing but I will let that one slide). Steve Martin and Jason Schwatzman also were striking in this film. Martin with his calm and confident disposition was juxtaposed against Schwartzman's apathetic yet manic character. Danes character, Mirabelle, was trapped between these two leading men in a search for her own destiny. Shopgirl is the most comforting movie I have seen this fall. Let me explain.

During the movie, the characters' emotional responses felt more realistic than many romantic dramas. In a typical romantic drama, there is an exaggerated separation between the emotional highs and lows. In everyday life, people do not experience the cinematic drama that movies often depict. Because we are the ones interpreting the event, our emotional response is not heightened to the cinematic level. Reality does not have the extreme ups and downs that are often felt in a movie. Watching this continued state of perceived calm is very comforting.

Martin's character, Ray Porter, is also very comforting (even the name is soothing for visually and auditorally). Ray never committed to Mirabelle and even cheated on her at one point. Despite these classic relational shortcomings, as an audience member, I felt safe with him. Was it because he was an older man and had the father figure cliche on his side? Was it the past pain that beamed from his eyes? perhaps it was the combination of both. Maribelle, too, felt safe with him despite lack of commitment.

At the start of the film, Mirabelle, is listening to Dr. Joy Brown on the radio and Dr. Joy vents that, "Every woman needs to be touched. Physiologically, touch from even a stranger produces a response. depending on how long a woman is held depends on how much of these endorphins her body releases". When someone (male or female) is held a blanket of safety surrounds them. That sense of safe is what catalyzes the body's response to release the endorphins. This movie provides a temporary blanket of safety. Everything will turn out fine in the end - maybe not the way you expect it to happen - and more importantly you will live through the process of crossing the finish line.

The movie is not unnecessarily emotionally draining yet still provided a great message for me. The movie's message is different for everyone that sees the movie. So, gracefully walk to see this movie (I would say run but you should be in a calm sate of mind when you go see it).
I am intrigued that you find Ray to be so comforting. I always felt uneasy about him, particularly during the love scenes. I just felt like he was using his power over her. I guess it just shows how he truly was an ambiguous character.
So Claire Danes' performance in Terminator 3 floored you?
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