Fellow Movie Lovers
“It’s complicated”, a major ingredient of twenty-first century vernacular, is a euphuism for our inability to explain our ineptitudes, poor decisions or complications from personal or professional relationships gone awry. The situation we manufactured but no longer want ownership of, and are too mortified to confess to its creation and too embarrassed to seek help. But Nancy Meyers masterfully tackles the complications of the divorced Jane and Jake Adler with such skill and wisdom that never again will I utter the words “it’s complicated” without a silent but joyous chuckle. This movie charms, pleases and succeeds in lifting the spirits to unchartered heights.
Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin are flawless. Their characters exude confidence, charm and vulnerability. They have been wounded; the scars are obvious, but endured. The screen pulsated with their humanness.
The trophy goes to Meyers. She climbed into the minds, hearts and psyches of “women of a certain age” turned them inside out, so the beauty within, the sensuality that never withers but intensifies with time spilled off the screen onto an audience relishing and rooting for a woman who could be a grandmother. Why not, can’t grandmothers be desirable?
Myers has been doing this for years (Something’s Gotta Give, What Women Want) but “It’s Complicated” is the 24 carat diamond in the crown. Her females are accomplished women; secure and mature. Primarily they like what they have become; the youthful unrealized fantasies are no substitute for the power of surmounting life’s obstacles, unscathed. Wrinkles, widening hips, drooping lids are badges to be flaunted, not flaws to be surgically erased. They are ensconced in beautiful but lived in homes; reflecting the security of their taste, not a decorators.
The script is hilarious; every line by every actor delivered with precise comedic timing.
Special applause to John Kraniski, whose portrayal of Harley, the soon to be son-in-law, is rich in subtle nuances.
The movie is most sensual in the cuisine creating scenes. You salivate as Jane (like Julia Child) prepares Croque Monsieurs (open-faced grilled cheese sandwiches) for Adam or at his request warm chocolate croissants in her shuttered pastry shop; ideal setting for an eventual assignation. Food and love, a partnership that satiates both the palate and the heart; a copious theme on the screen (Tom Jones, Julie/Julia) and the real world.
In conclusion it is Jake who says “It’s Complicated”. No impediment will halt Jane’s evolution to be a “woman of a certain age”, shining and thriving in every glorious minute.
FOUR & 1/2 STARS!