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In her shoes


I hadn’t read Jennifer Weiner's book and the trailer didn’t sell me on “In Her Shoes,” so I went in without any expectations. I came away believing I’d seen one of the few movies of 2005 worth watching twice.
"In Her Shoes" is a surprisingly refreshing, emotionally focused story of two sisters who share nothing in common - other than the same shoe size - but who ultimately learn the value of family and come to understand the special bonds of sisterhood.

Whatever you do, don’t let anyone tell you this is a chick flick. That’s a label that makes men cringe and I can assure you this film is just as much for men as it is for women. It’s a movie for anyone wanting something a little meatier, something with a little more emotional depth than your average mainstream studio film.

Cameron Diaz stars as Maggie, the bad seed. She’s the daughter who cheated and stole and generally made you embarrassed to claim her as part of the family. Her beautiful body, combined with her ability to turn on the charm as needed, gets her through life. Sleeping with anything attractive to get a free meal or drinks, Maggie’s aimless and wanders through life knowing she can always fall back on her hard-working, dependable sister.

Toni Collette plays Rose, the sister who holds down a well paying job, can be counted on to do the right thing, and has a penchant for buying beautiful shoes she knows she’ll never wear. The only mark against her is that she’s carrying on a torrid affair with her boss.

When Maggie’s kicked out of their father’s house (their stepmother’s a real harpy who doesn’t care for either daughter), Rose allows her to stay at her place until she can get on her feet. But getting on her feet isn’t easy for Maggie. Her dyslexia makes her lose out on a gig at MTV. She tries to be good by getting a job helping to take care of animals but soon fails at even that simple task. She borrows Rose’s car and gets it towed away. Nothing seems to work for Maggie other than using her looks to procure favors from men. When she impulsively decides to sleep with Rose’s boyfriend, that act proves to be too much for even Rose to forgive.

After being booted out of Rose’s place, Maggie heads to her dad’s in search of money and maybe a place to stay temporarily. Rifling through his drawers, Maggie discovers letters from her deceased mother’s mother. The girls’ mom suffered from a mental illness and was killed in an auto accident when they were just kids. Since that time, they haven’t had any contact with their mother’s family. Both sisters believe their grandmother is dead so it’s a real shock to Maggie to learn she’s alive and well and living in a retirement community in Florida. With nowhere else to go, Maggie goes off to confront the grandmother she just discovered is still around.

Pushed and shoved by her grandmother into standing on her own two feet, Maggie begins to blossom into a self-assured woman who doesn’t need anyone around to lean on. Meanwhile, Rose also reassesses her life and falls in love with a good, decent man (Mark Feuerstein). Yet hanging over both women is the horrible tear in their relationship that needs mending.

On the surface “In Her Shoes” may seem like a surprising choice for “LA Confidential” and “8 Mile” director Curtis Hanson, but it’s ultimately not that far off from the relationships portrayed in each of his other films. Hanson deftly handles this mostly female cast and allows his actors to really latch on to these characters.

Cameron Diaz is a revelation. Playing opposite Toni Collette brings out the best in Diaz, who shows remarkably more depth than in any prior performance. Collette, as always, is terrific. This under-rated actress never takes a single misstep in “In Her Shoes.” MacLaine and supporting players Mark Feuerstein and Ken Howard are all equally at ease in their performances.

“In Her Shoes” feels so real, the characters are so authentic that you can actually forget you’re watching a movie. So emotionally invested do you become in the lives of these characters, you don’t even realize just how involved you’re getting in the story until it’s just about wrapping up. A great cast, compelling story, and just the right blend of drama and comedy help to make “In Her Shoes” a good place to be.
Date Added: 05/10/2013 by Rose
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