Monday, May 22, 2006

My Feelings About The Movie “Shopgirl” Are Layered On Many Levels

Ben and I enjoy overuse of the terms ‘layered’ and ‘levels’ to describe complexities of feeling and other things, usually when things are not complex at all. In any case, we watched Shopgirl Saturday night, and I would say yes, it’s a good film, but it left me feeling kind of uneasy, and I’m not exactly sure why. Well, yes, I think some of it has to do with seeing Angela Chase naked. Nevertheless, I thought Angela – I mean Claire Danes – was really great, perfectly cast, as was Jason Schwartzman, who I always love. I had read the book and enjoyed it. I think maybe seeing this young woman take up with this distant older man – well, perhaps my discomfort has something to do with the general truth of it. It was a familiar situation – not the older man thing, especially not the wealthy older man thing, just the distant man thing – and although it was easy to see that Claire Danes character was taken with Steve Martin, and I understood why she was taken with him. But I thought that Martin as an actor could have given the audience a little more of what was appealing about this man, which would have maybe made it even more ‘layered’ for me. It was like – he really didn’t have any particular charm at all as far as I could see, and as I said, although I completely believed Claire Danes, I wanted to see it for myself. There. And listen – I LOVE Steve Martin. LOVE him. On all levels and layers. But I didn’t love him here, and I realize I probably wasn’t supposed to, but I wanted just a teeny weeny bit more from him, just one more teeny little layer, some little quirk that made him human.

7 comments:

smussyolay said...

thanks for this. i didn't read the book. but i recently saw the movie. and i have had way too many relationships with the 'distant man,' and even one with an older man. and yeah. i just thought...um, steve martin has to have one more redeeming quality to him other than he buys her shit. because i'm, i mean, claire danes isn't the type of girl who falls in love with someone because someone buys her shit. it might end up to be a bonus (i've never ended up in that sitch, btw), but never an attraction factor.

also...and this started a mild shitstorm on my blog, i made the declaration that if it truly is 'nothing,' and it truly is 'once,' and it truly is a 'mistake,' (which i don't think he really said) you don't tell someone about a one-night stand cheat. his excuse 'i thought you ought to know.' and i think you ought not to. i think that's super super selfish on the part of someone and just a way to alleviate his/her guilt at the expense of the loved. obvs in his case, it was just a way to distance himself from her, and make her fall out of love with him. permanently damage the relationship. does that make sense? but there was a big debate about telling about a one night cheat. (and i admitted if i were actually *in* that situation, i still might tell. who knows.)

lastly. i LOVE LOVE LOVE jason schwartzman.

Betsy said...

Smussy - I'm glad I wasn't alone in that. I'll have to go look at your blog and see that shitstorm - sounds interesting!

carolyn said...

i thought the book was just so-so. i would probably like the movie more.

lb said...

My reaction to the movie: Someone should have told Steve that he could write the book OR star in the film OR narrate the film, but not all three.

Okay, I guess he couldn't exactly opt not to write the book, but with that particular trifecta going on, there just seemed to be Too Much Steve.

Which gave me the definite impression that he was trying to let himself off the hook for having messed with a nice shop girl somewhere. "Because, well, that was life."

And I love Steve Martin. I do. But not all omnipresent with the authoring and the narrating and the wooing.

Betsy said...

I dunno Carolyn, the book and the movie are very similar in feeling.
LB - I think you've got something there... does that mean I don't get to star in and narrate the movie of GLORY?

Tamar said...

I also watched Shopgirl on Saturday night, and it made me cry, which may or may not have to do with the huge fight I had with my mother right before watching it. But yeah, I agree with everything everyone said. I wish that being rich was really a redeeming quality, but my experience is that it really isn't. And can I just say that even though being in debt is really not fun, I think having someone else magically pay off your debt because he gets to sleep with you is like buying your not-love, and that's not ok. Or maybe I'm just jealous.

Betsy said...

I enjoy the phrase "buying your not-love". Awesome.