I almost thought I'd give this movie a bad review. As I sat in the theater, I enumerated the points against it. Self-indulgent. Cinematographically lacking. Precious. Eccentric lovables drawn together inexhorably through a tangled and fortuitous chain of events.
But I can't.
The fact is, Miranda July's first feature (which she wrote, directed, and starred in) is as charming and silly and pretty as her name. Without shying away from pain, it emphasizes those little tragedies that make up our lives and points out its little victories as well. The moments in this movie are small, personal, strange in the way that things in real life are strange. The eccentricities, though concnetrated, are ones I've never seen before and therefore believe in. For anyone who hasn't seen the film, there is one scene that is worth it for its audacity, the kid involved, and the underlying sweetness. For those of you who have seen it, I'm talking about this: ))<=>((
Accusations of preciousness are not unfounded, I think. But that's a tricky word, and anyway I forgive her, because there's something true in this movie. Something that made me laugh out loud and walk away quietly sad. The performances, except for Richard, are wonderful. The children, especially, acquit themselves brilliantly. The film's made up of tiny moments of life and it's not and Important Film. But it's lovely and worth seeing and it's worth watching July for what happens next. Hopefully she'll get herself a cinematographer and some real film (yes, I'm a snob).
I did have a slight problem with the fact that the main character was a struggling artist whose art I did not like, which always makes for an uncomfortable character/audience relationship. But since July was playing the artist, and she made this film as well, I'll let her off the hook and assume it was intentional.