Sunday, April 23, 2006


In Her ShoesToni Collette Directed by Curtis Hanson
Starring Toni Collette
Reviewed by Byron Merritt



For those who’ve read any of my previous film reviews, you probably know that dysfunctional family stories aren’t my favorite genre. They tend to be too psychologically dark if not downright depressing (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE is a prime example). I don’t mind dark themes; in fact, I enjoy them, but they need to have more substance than just dark qualities. There needs to be character studies that go deep and delve into people as a whole, not just their black side. And that’s why IN HER SHOES works ...

Some might see this as a chick flick, but it isn’t. Although all of the prime players are women, they just as easily could’ve been men (brothers and a grandfather). But here, it just happens to be strong female leads that pull us into the story. The premise is simple: two grown-up sisters (played by Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz) are at odds with each other. One is a responsible attorney while the other remains a sexy playgirl, and a damaging evening involving one of their boyfriends rips them apart. But as time goes by, both learn that being the "other" sister isn’t such a bad thing; they are both equal parts of the other, and this comes into focus when they learn the truth about their mother’s death and discover that they still have a living grandmother (the excellent Shirley MacLaine).

Tears and laughter are mixed throughout the film as we learn more and more about this wily family and how one sister’s shoes (both figuratively and literally) might well fit the other ...and vice versa. The title of the movie is absolutely perfect in that we see early on Toni Collette’s character’s affinity for footwear and how the sisters fight over shoes and life, and how sometimes life doesn’t always nuzzle-up to us in a comfortable way but shoes (family/sisters) always do.

This is an excellent film to cozy up with next to your favorite (or embittered) sibling and take a voyage of discovery down Family Lane.

Click here for the In Her Shoes movie trailer!


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