Thursday, April 27, 2006

Movie A Day - Friends With Money

I know I'm not doing the Book or Movie A Day challenges anymore, but I like the way the titles look.


Annnywaaay. I went to see Friends with Money this weekend with Wing Chun. It's taken me a while to post about the film because I've been thinking about it so much and it took me a while to elucidate exactly why I liked it. And it comes down to one thing: it's about women, women of a certain age, going through womanly things. Oh, it's all clear now, isn't it?

No, really, it's about four friends, each with very different lives and very different problems. One is wealthy and happily married (Joan Cusack), another is happily married but extremely unhappy (Frances McDormand), the third is unhappily married (Catherine Keener) and the last is just plain troubled (Jennifer Aniston). Each woman openly, even freely admits that they might not be friends now if they weren't friends already, a long-lasting kind of knowledge about one another informs the performances of all four lead actresses, and truly makes the film feel like you're watching a slice of their lives instead of a celluloid world.

At one point, Jane (Frances McDormand) simply stops washing her hair because it hurts her arms to keep them up there. A perfect and honest picture of depression, and despite the fact that everyone's worried about her, she still manages to be a good friend to Christine (Catherine Keener) when her marriage finally breaks down. In the middle of it all is Olivia (Jennifer Anistan), who has quit her job as a teacher and become a maid. Franny (Joan Cusack) revolves around them all like a strange sort of life coach, trying to fix everything and buying expensive tables at overpriced benefit dinners so they all can be together.

And just to bring it all back to me (I know, I'm sorry), the film made me think a lot about how much I've been contemplating life in general these days. A very poignant Jane bemoans the fact that she's now in her forties instead of just turned forty, and that's kind of how I feel these days too. I'm in the next stage of life, whatever that may be, too old to live like I did a decade ago, but too young to hang up my dancing shoes forever; I'm still treading water in terms of imagining what life has in store for me.

In a way, I'm a late bloomer (it takes me forever to do things; we didn't even get married until now and we're 34), and sometimes I think it might be because I wasn't sure I'd even make it this far. A little part of me was always convinced that I'd never live this long, my mother lost her life at thirty-four, the same age I am now, and I always saw that as the end. Now that I'm half-way through the year, and ready for another birthday in a few months, I can't help thinking that I've never even considered that life actually moves past that age.

What do I do now? What am I going to do with the rest of my life? How do I face it all? What makes me happy? Why does it make me happy? It fascinates me that one line from an 88-minute long film sets me off on a philosophical and psychological journey that probably won't end with the close of this sentence.

To sum up: it's a great little film, mandatory viewing with a group of equally lovely and amazing girlfriends.

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