Thursday, August 8, 2019

Juliet, Naked

Husband and I both enjoyed this movie about living with the consequences of your choices, yet still trying to make the future better.

Annie (Rose Byrne) is the museum curator of the sleepy seaside town of Sandcliffe, England. For fifteen years, she has been living with boyfriend Duncan (Chris O’Dowd). They decided early on not to have kids, and Annie now regrets it, but they are both set in their decision. In fact, as she acknowledges early on, much of the issue is that Duncan is in love with another man. Not in any romantic way, but as a super intense fan of once mildly famous singer Tucker Crowe. He runs a website where 200 sad, middle-aged men gather together to debate various parts of his music and speculate on where he is, since Tucker has not been seen in public for over 20 years.

Opening the mail one day, Annie discovers someone has sent Duncan ‘Juliet, Naked’, that is, his seminal album but a pre-recorded version prior to the final release. It’s a dreary collection of his work, but Duncan thinks it’s brilliant. Frustrated by his lack of ability to find anything to criticise with Crowe, she posts a critique of it on Duncan’s website. To her great surprise, Tucker himself (Ethan Hawke) gets in touch to commend her on her review.

This kicks off an email exchange where they get to know each other and compare the realities of their current lives. While Annie laments her choices resulting in the lack of children, Tucker is facing his own past with four ex-partners and five children. As he notes, when you stuff up the first two decades of your adult life, it gets messy for the rest of it, and there is a lot you are trying to make up for. These exchanges are lovely: they are honest, candid and funny.

For those that want some content indicators: there are a fair number of f words, and a shot of batteries being removed from a vibrator. Duncan ended up being adulterous, and Annie’s sister Ros was a reasonably aggressive lesbian, who kept misreading women’s interest in her.

I won’t give away anymore, but we found ourselves reflecting that both Tucker and Annie were very realistic characters and we liked them. They were honest about their lives, their choices and where they lead them, yet also optimistic about change and positive about the potential future. Neither were over-the-top characters, not overly dramatic.

It’s an enjoyable film containing both humour and heartfelt reality.

1 comment:

Tamie said...

Have you seen Chris O'Dowd in 'State of the Union' on ABC Iview too? Another funny and poignant look at adult life and marriage.