Classic farce and touching drama

Underneath it all, Juliet, Naked is a charming rom-com

By
August 15, 2018 19:04
3 minute read.
Juliet, Naked

Juliet, Naked. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

With Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Chris O’Dowd.

Hebrew title: Juliet, Ha’girsa ha’iroma.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


105 minutes. In English In this era of comic superhero movies, it may seem as if intelligent romantic comedies are a thing of the past, but just when most discriminating moviegoers have all but despaired of seeing anything truly enjoyable on the big screen, along comes the charming, very funny and moving Juliet, Naked.

As soon as I heard about this film, I had high hopes for it, and it doesn’t disappoint. Juliet, Naked is based on a novel by Nick Hornby, whose brilliant books are page turners but always have something deeper woven into the story. Not coincidentally, several of them have been adapted into fine films, notably High Fidelity and About a Boy.

The movie, which combines classic farce and touching drama, tells the story of Annie, gracefully played by Rose Byrne, who is the reserved director of a museum in a seaside British town and the dutiful girlfriend of Duncan (the phenomenal Chris O’Dowd, who was in Bridesmaids and The Sapphires). Duncan is one of those annoying hipster know-it-alls – a type that is all around us but that is rarely represented in fiction – who places an inordinately high value on being aware of every nuance of pop culture and an inordinately low value on being a mensch. Annie is ambivalent about their decision not to have children, but Duncan is just fine.

What keeps him busy is his obsession with Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke), a 90s-era American singer/songwriter who made what Duncan and other aficionados he chats with on his blog consider the greatest album of all time – and then disappeared without a trace.

Duncan gets a hold of a stripped-down version of Crowe’s masterpiece and through a complex set of circumstances that are not all that implausible in the digital age, Annie makes contact with Tucker himself. He turns out to be a broke guy with a gut, who has children all over the world with different mothers and is finally trying to be a good father to his youngest, Jackson (Azhy Robertson). Ethan Hawke is the perfect actor to embody Crowe’s sly charisma. This rock star’s pretty-boy looks may have gone to seed, but he’s still oddly attractive.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


The bond that develops between Annie and her lover’s idol is strange and compelling. We all know people like these characters, and their authenticity makes this infinitely more satisfying than a typical rom-com, where a perfect male appears the second the heroine has a fight with her boyfriend. All three of the main characters are flawed and alternately infuriating and winning. The famous rocker aspect enhances the movie’s main theme, which is about people not being quite who you think they are, and the perils of encountering anyone you idolize.

The three lead actors are extraordinarily good, and O’Dowd in particular is able to take a character who sounds like the worst kind of narcissistic jerk and to show how his intensity can be attractive.

Juliet, Naked was directed by Jesse Peretz, who made the very funny film Our Idiot Brother several years ago, and whose name is familiar to anyone who reads the credits on television shows. He has directed many episodes of the best shows, including Girls, Orange is the New Black, and, most recently, the quirky Netflix original series, GLOW. Like Our Idiot Brother, Juliet, Naked was co-written by his sister, Evgenia Peretz (the other writers on the project were Tamara Jenkins, who made The Savages a few years ago, and Jim Taylor, who won an Oscar for Sideways). These writers have skillfully adapted this offbeat novel and preserved its spirit, while making a few changes necessary to compress the story into the movie’s 105-minute running time.

The film is so much fun that I actually wished it were longer – something I don’t think I’ve ever said before, since I tend to think most movies are too long – because it was just so great to spend time with these characters.

A few sections of the movie feel a bit rushed, especially when Annie and Tucker’s relationship is blossoming and when Annie finally starts changing her life.

But in the end, the movie works, and its sophistication and heart shine through.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Reuven Rivlin David Lau
September 25, 2018
Rivlin pays Sukkot visits to Chief Rabbis Lau and Yosef

By GREER FAY CASHMAN