In Her Shoes
just gets better and better as it goes along. As adapted byErin Brockovich
screenwriter Susannah Grant, this is one of those rare movies that actually improves on its source material (Jennifer Weiner's "chick lit"bestseller
), with thoughtful direction by Curtis Hanson, theL.A. Confidential
Oscar®-winner who approaches any chosen genre with Hawksian versatility. At first it seems like Weiner's novel might yield a standard melodrama of sibling rivalry, but the polar opposition of smart, plain-looking Philadelphia lawyer Rose (the always-excellent Toni Collette) and her sexy, illiterate, irresponsible sister Maggie (Cameron Diaz) is just the starting point.In Her Shoes
becomes a moving, richly developed character study that deals with painful loss, long-term guilt, negative self-image, and the discovery of a heretofore unknown grandmother named Ella (played with delicate nuance by Shirley MacLaine), whose re-entry into the sisters' lives sets the stage for the well-earned emotions of a satisfying reconciliation. As Maggie takes stock of her dismal life while staying with Ella at a Florida "retirement home for active seniors," Hanson never condescends to these likable characters, and never goes for the easy laughs in a setting that could have devolved intoCocoon
-like comedy. The movie's all the more endearing for treating its male characters (played by Mark Feuerstein, Ken Howard, and Richard Burgi) with equal depth and sympathy, ...