In Her Shoes - Review
Review by Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Alternate Opening Sequence; Easter Egg; The People In The Shoes Featurette; A Community For Acting Seniors Featurette; The Casting Of Honey Bun Featurette.
IT’S rare to find a ‘chick flick’ with universal appeal but Curtis Hanson’s absorbing character study is so well-heeled that it should delight men and women in equal measure.
Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette play two sisters, Maggie and Rose Feller, who share little in common except shoe size. One is quiet, reserved and miserable, the other slutty and manipulative.
While Rose struggles to find romance and create a comfortable life for herself, Maggie is continually drifting from one job to another, generally being promiscuous and depending on her older sister to provide the emotional rescue.
Things come to a head, however, when Maggie comes to stay with Rose and ruins a prospective romance by sleeping with the object of Rose’s affections in a moment of jealous spite.
The only person left for Maggie to turn to is her long-lost grandmother (played by Shirley Maclaine), so she ups sticks and heads for her Florida-based retirement community to seek some temporary shelter.
Once there, however, she begins to bond with her grandmother, who provides her with an unlikely source of self-help and sets Maggie on the path to improving her prospects.
Rose, meanwhile, has quit her job as a lawyer and embarked on a new relationship – but quickly yearns for some sisterly guidance and sets off to be reunited with her sibling.
In Her Shoes, while certainly overlong, thrives on the chemistry between its three charming leads, as well as a bubbly script that provides a winning mix of laughter and tears.
It may tug at the heart-strings in the way that all good Oscar contenders should but it never overdoses on sentiment and keeps its characters plausible and above all identifiable.
Of the two leads, Collette has the more understated role but remains luminous throughout, providing an endearing mix of insecurity and determination that is both funny and easy to sympathise with.
Diaz, meanwhile, gets to flash her body on numerous occasions but grows in stature the longer the film lasts – transforming from selfish bitch to caring sibling in believable fashion.
MacLaine, meanwhile, lends the film an extra element of class as the caring grandmother – a woman still harbouring her own demons for past misdeeds.
As director of this spellbinding character study, Hanson deserves the utmost praise for avoiding the obvious pitfalls of the genre and creating a genuinely emotional journey that’s both warm and inspiring.
For while it may scream out for Oscar recognition, its sensitive portrayal of life’s ups and downs provides plenty of heart and sole besides.