There are some very dark corners in this cheeky comedy, which explores relationships and sexuality in unusually realistic ways. But filmmaker Jill Soloway doesn't offer easy answers, forcing her characters to sort out a messy situation on their own. And it's refreshing that we are left to find the message ourselves.
The story centres on stay-at-home mum Rachel (Kathryn Hahn), raising her young son Logan (Sawyer Ever) while her husband Jeff (Josh Radnor) is a hotshot app-creator. But this domestic set-up hasn't helped their sex life, so Rachel goes to a strip club with her pal Stephanie (Jessica St. Clair) for some inspiration. There she meets lap dancer McKenna (Juno Temple), and later contrives to become her friend, eventually inviting her to live in their spare room and work as a nanny to Logan. But of course Jeff is freaked out to have a stripper in the house.
After terrific supporting parts in everything from Revolutionary Road to Wanderlust, Hahn steps into a lead role like a natural. She holds the film together effortlessly, giving Rachel a loose complexity that makes her likeable even when she does something stupid. Her chats with her therapist (a hilarious Jane Lynch) help show how her life hasn't gone as expected, and the way she reaches out to this stripper feels intriguingly uncharacteristic and potentially perilous, but also edgy and invigorating. Opposite her, Temple is wonderfully free-spirited and unpredictable.
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Rachel is a married stay at home mother who you'd think had no worries in the world; she has a well-off husband, a beautiful house, an adorable son and plenty of friends but somehow, she just doesn't seem to fit in. She visits her therapist regularly to discuss her floundering career prospects and totally diminishing sex life. One day, however, a friend of hers comes up with an idea to hit a strip club where Rachel meets a 19-year-old lap dancer named McKenna. Rachel later bumps into her in the street, where she had been thrown out of her home, and offers her a place to stay. Enlisting her as a live-in nanny, Rachel becomes fixated on helping McKenna find a better life, to the shock of her husband Jeff and friends. McKenna's presence soon becomes a strain on her marriage and Jeff starts to wonder if it's Rachel who needs the help, not McKenna.
Primetime Emmy nominated Jill Soloway ('Six Feet Under', 'United States of Tara') has directed and written this comedy drama about true happiness and contentment with the cards you have been dealt. It's poignancy and gentle humour won it the Directing Award at 2013 Sundance Film Festival, with it also being nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.
That sword-fighting scene is indicative of the entire movie's attitude. Roxanne is an intelligent, playful flight of fancy, meant to be judged by the merits of its own universe, not the real world. Martin is a brilliant mind and a beautiful writer, and the light touch of his screenplay allows for this story to be set in the "real world," but graces it with such good cheer and unexpected whimsy that this film is like a fairy tale with jokes.
Continue reading: Roxanne Review
Dad's lost his job, too, and both his parents think he's gay (thanks to what turns out to be the movie's funniest single moment), so Darren scrambles back to the dorms to figure out how to raise another $1000 so he can stay in school. (Naturally, he's also in love with another resident named Gracie (Kristen Bell), but he can't profess him affections to her.)
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The idea is impressively theatrical for a teen movie: Five teens show up at Shermer High School for Saturday detention, where they'll have to write an essay on who they think they are. All the kids represent different archetypes, of course, and by the end of the day, they'll all have exposed each other's fears and learned that, for all their supposed differences, there really isn't that much that separates them.
Continue reading: The Breakfast Club Review
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