June 21, 2009

Friends With Money

Jennifer Aniston is a good actress but she seldom seems to get THE part. Usually we see her in a romantic comedy, in which she's clearly comfortable--and likable. But occasionally she gets to demonstrate her dramatic chops, like in this movie, Friends With Money. I found it in the comedy section of the video store, but I thought the categorization misleading. It's one of those movies where you feel like you're being a told a story completely objectively, just watching the lives of four women and their husbands unfold in a small splash of time. Aniston's character, Olivia, is single and has become a maid after quitting a teaching position she hated. Her three friends (played by Catherine Keener, Joan Cusack, and Frances McDormand), are all married and financially well-off. Olivia is, in many ways, their pet project. She's the one they're "a little worried about."
This is the kind of movie where conflict resolutions aren't necessarily inevitable, in that it's a movie that tries to be realistic. If you hate that sort of thing, you might not enjoy this, but if you do enjoy it, like I did, you'll find a very clever, honest, sympathetic picture that's about the intricate, unstable, chaotic, and familiar nature of relationships.

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