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In Her Shoes (Widescreen Edition) (2005)

A movie directed by Curtis Hanson

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The Pleasure of Their Company

  • Feb 1, 2006
It must take courage to wade through an overstuffed yet flimsy novel such as Jennifer Weiner's IN HER SHOES and find that without all the paraphernalia bruising the essential message there is a fine story to be told. Such is the case of director Curtis Hanson (8 Mile, LA Confidential, The Wonder Boys) who consistently pares down stories and focuses on significant human issues. He is greatly aided by Susannah Grant's fine screenplay and by a cast of actors who are at their peak. For all the PR that ruined this film in the theaters (the Magnum Opus 'chick flick', about shoes, silly graphics, etc), this is in truth a fine drama about sibling rivalry and sibling devotion and the cruel effects self-loathing bifurcated parents unwittingly have on their offspring.

Rose Feller (Toni Collette) is a bright but dumpy lawyer, successful in her career but miserable in her social life. Her sister Maggie (Cameron Diaz) is her opposite: a silly, shallow, drunken, dishonest party girl who has never been able to hold down even the most menial job for her obsession with men and inappropriate sexual situations. Moving in with Rose out of desperation, Maggie turns Rose's life into chaos: the two fight, loathe each other, split and yet each of the disparate sisters also acknowledges that they are, in the end, all that each has. When Rose finally throws Maggie out, Maggie moves to Florida to mooch off the grandmother (Shirley MacLaine) neither sister has ever known because of a long standing parental riff that has altered their lives more than they appreciate. The separation of the sisters by space offers each the chance to discover each other's value and the manner in which the two rejoin is the results of tough lessons learned.

Collette, Diaz, and MacLaine each offer wholly professional, fully realized performances. The supporting cast is likewise fine and the keen directorial leadership by Hanson is evident. The film is grossly overlong (130 minutes filled with far too much repetitive excess) and the opting for sentimentality as the film moves toward the finish is a bit off-putting, but the surprise here is that this is really a good movie! Who would ever know form the PR and the associated bungling of the packaging? Grady Harp, February 06

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More In Her Shoes (2005) reviews
review by . August 27, 2006
Pros: Acting, story-line.     Cons: Pacing in some spots.     The Bottom Line: While some portions of the movie were all too predictable, the human drama was enough to make In Her Shoes all worth while.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Cameron Diaz is irrepressibly cute, inescapably adorable, and for now, undeniably sexy; there is no denying it. And that wide smile, dimples and all, can warm …
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Grady Harp ()
Ranked #96
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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In Her Shoesjust gets better and better as it goes along. As adapted byErin Brockovichscreenwriter 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. ConfidentialOscar®-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 Shoesbecomes 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, ...
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Director: Curtis Hanson
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2006
Runtime: 130 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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