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Juliet, Naked (2018)

Juliet, Naked (Jesse Peretz)- Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Chris O'DowdHardly Worth Missing

Overall Grade: C
Story: B
Acting: B
Direction: C-
Visuals: C-

Summary: A romantic comedy of sorts.

"Juliet, Naked" is just about enough to charm you into believing the money you spent was not thrown away. It is filled with all the hot-button topics that I'd think would invigorate an artsy, middle-aged movie group: 60/70's pop culture & music, a small ocean front English town, a love-starved British woman with ego-centric man finds spark of love with tragically flawed (and aged) American rock star reborn to the responsibilities and cares of others, and the banality and self-interest of online "critics" getting its "due" judgement.

Rose Byrne plays Annie- the perfect, optimistic, love-star, with warm smile and purest heart, pining against the drab world of reality that seems to have her trapped as the curator of the tiny museum in her small English port town.

Ethan Hawke plays the crusty, failed but learned American rock star that has a tiny cult following reprised in internet chat rooms and blog sites.

But the best character is Chris O'Dowd's sniveling, self-absorbed, small-town college professor whose ignorance of personal responsibility plays a close third place to his single digit emotional IQ and gaping black hole of self-awareness. You don't just love hating him, you love yourself for hating him. Not since M*A*S*H's Frank Burns have we seen such a childishly devolved emotional man. But this time, it isn't for humor. At least not primarily. He gives us the reason for Annie's connection and launch into a love interest with Hawke's character.

Ah, the obvious rom-com joy...

The weaker performances in this movie are put in by the director and the cinematographer.  In a movie that has a funny and inventive script, with actually skilful acting, the director seems to be asleep at the helm. I kept thinking that juxtapositions, twists and shots would be waking me up from the sleepy surroundings of the scene settings. But nothing. And for a film set primarily on a coastal town, we see remarkably nothing of scenic vistas, charming pull-away shots or venturesome offbeat "life" shots from the supporting cast of the movie. One wonders what happened to leadership of this film .. sleep? Too many pub visits?

That said, I did like the film for what it is, a stumbling little romantic comedy that does get you to smile in the end..


Review by Kim Gentes 


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