Film Scouts Reviews

"Walking and Talking"

by Karen Jaehne

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Nicole Holofcener's debut is so honest it hurts. "Walking and Talking" takes us down that rocky road between friendship and marriage - when you decide to leave that trustworthy friend behind whose love is absolute for somebody who may not be as forgiving. It's scary - and even scarier for the best friend.

Catherine Keener plays Amelia as a wry New Yorker cartoon of a single female. She has custody of the cat she has shared with Laura, her best friend since childhood, and the cat is an important bond between them. The cat dies, Laura declares her intention to marry, and Amelia tries to date, only to get rejected by a guy who reads Fangoria. Adult life is fraught with dangers, but these characters are so totally charming, we're willing to see them through their most embarrassing moments.

The clarity of the script and the wonderful performances make it a must-see - with a cherished friend. An tightly controlled performance by Anne Heche adds poignancy to the dilemma of the bride. Heche's unusual beauty puts her way out in front of the standard blonde, and something in the set of her jaw gives her an interesting depth that makes her character's self-centeredness seem like only a passing problem. We trust Laura to become a better woman for all the hassle of going to the next stage of life. Amelia is more fragile; she may just find someone else to depend on rather than make her own life.

"Walking and Talking" looks like a simple linear narrative, but its psychology explores the valleys and peaks of friendship. It's so lucid about the way women relate, it would have become a feminist cult-film only a decade ago. It will be interesting to see if all the June brides and bridesmaids go see it. They should.

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