In Her Shoes (2005)

Monday, August 22, 2011

In Her Shoes

When this first appeared in theaters and probably later on DVD, I elected not to see it. For the life of me, I do not know why it has taken me this long to see the movie. It’s cute. It’s funny. But most of all, what most of you might be surprised to discover (like I was) is just how heart-tugging the movie actually is…

Maggie Feller (Cameron Diaz) is a mess. Literally. She hasn’t a dime to her name (as usual) and she winds up too incoherent at her ten-year high school reunion to even know who she is. Her elder sister Rose (Toni Collette) gets a call in the dead of night, and off Rose goes to pick up her sister. Maggie winds up getting kicked out of their father and step-mother’s home which puts Maggie out on the street unless Rose takes her in… again.

Letting Maggie stay with her turns out to be a disaster. Maggie has little regard for order and isn’t above hurting her sister by stealing a promising relationship right out from under her. With that, Rose reaches her breaking point and kicks Maggie out with little care where she goes. Heading off to New York is derailed when Maggie finds letters from a grandmother she assumed was long gone, and instead decides to go to Florida.

Ella (Shirley McClaine) is a kind-hearted woman who loved her daughter dearly but recognized her mental health problems. After his wife's death, the girl's father forbid his wife’s parents from seeing his children leaving Ella in a fragile situation. The two women attempt to make up for lost time, but it is Maggie’s attitude that continues to wreck her relationships while Rose worries about her missing sister possibly ruining her chance at true love with a man (Mark Feuerstein) who actually loves her for who she is.

Those of you who have seen this or maybe just read about it and been appalled at the immoralities may be thinking I’ve lost my mind to have already given the slightest hint of suggestion that this is a “good” movie, and that is okay. Just because I got something out of it and was able to block out the rubbish in the process doesn’t mean you all will want to chance seeing the complete lack of respect these girls have for each other – and themselves. Rose and Maggie are complete opposites in the way they go about their lives but when Rose reaches her breaking point and cuts ties with her irresponsible sister, the pair of them realize how special their relationship really is. The situation in which we are introduced to these characters will, to most of us be distasteful. And, I am not pretending that I liked the early parts of these women’s choices – i.e. the lifestyle they have carved out nor am I condoning them.
In Her Shoes

Maggie and Rose became close out of necessity (losing a mother at a young age), but remained so through their tender growing up years. Rose taking on a more protective nature, trying to shield Maggie from the world’s woes, which as it would happen probably did Maggie no favors. I liked how “honest” the script was. It doesn’t mince its words or message (in fact sometimes it’s a little too honest). Instead it offers realistic situations that would definitely drive an irreconcilable wedge between two people. However, at the risk of contradicting myself, I will say that some of the scenarios might be a tad bit exaggerated, but nevertheless Maggie’s “betrayal” would be enough to send anyone over the edge. The opening of the movie is, yes flawed, but if you can get past the first ten-fifteen minutes, there is a message that begins to form. And it is one worth heeding. Its ending is incredibly beautiful and I did love the small (albeit cute) moments when the title is in beautiful form.

Both women learn lessons from the heart. Maggie’s “disappearing act” to Florida teaches her self-reliance and gets her away from surroundings she was far too confident in. Rose on the other hand learned that love can be unconditional – that she doesn’t have to be defined by what the world says is success to be loved by someone. It’s in these instances that In Her Shoes is a one walk worth taking.
(Maggie and Rose fist appear on-screen engaging is a one-night stand type situation [two other scenes imply sexual relations - including one of an unmarried couple in bed together]. There is alcohol consumption and foul mouths including bi*ch, sh*t, a** and da*n plus a "comedic" scene in which there is references to female anatomy. The movie is rated PG13)

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