(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)
Why I added it to my queue: Because it's the latest by famed director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs), plus the writing debut of Jenny Lumet, daughter of legendary filmmaker Sidney Lumet. Because it garnered an Oscar nomination for lead actress and infamous "good girl" Anne Hathaway, here playing a former model turned strung-out goth-girl emotional trainwreck, being released from a mental hospital at the beginning fo the film in order to attend the New Age wedding of her hippie yet uptight sister. Because it's about a former model turned strung-out goth-girl emotional trainwreck, pretty much the description in a nutshell of my entire dating life in my twenties.
The reality: Meh. It's good for what it is, don't get me wrong, a happy little indie snuck into malls and the mainstream consciousness through its Hollywood star power, a refreshing change for middle-aged suburbanites looking for a nice Friday out and tired of the usual meatsack fare at the local cineplex. But it's an awfully flat script, and veterans of quirky character-based dramas will be able to guess nearly every beat of this movie well in advance; plus I have to admit, I got tired very quickly of the endlessly lingering shots of the overly-obvious hippie-dippie melting-pot stereotypes on display here, wielded by Lumet with all the grace of a 2-by-4 to the back of the head. ("See, there's a black soldier! And there's an Indian guru! And there's a corporate-looking white guy! And they're all dancing together! In an impossibly beautiful tchochke-filled brownstone you'll never be able to afford in your life! Which is why we're filming the pointless celebrations for big 15-minute uninterrupted stretches at a time, instead of actually moving the story forward! Hooray! Hooray! Aren't we so liberal and tolerant and rich and wonderful! Hooray for us!") Now, that all said, it's astounding how deeply Hathaway is able to subsume herself into this role, and all the hype you've heard about her performance is well-deserved; who knew that the star of The Princess Diaries would make for such a convincing chain-smoking goth-girl sex addict?
If I had watched it when it first came out: I would've been angry for spending ten bucks to see it. Which of course is why I barely ever see movies actually in the theatre anymore.
Strangest piece of trivia: This was Lumet's fifth finished screenplay, but only the first to get actually produced.
Worth your time? If your idea of 'edgy' is 24, then yes. If not, then no.