Pondering Nicole Holofcener

by Melissa Silverstein on April 28, 2010

in Women Directors,Women Writers

Nicole Holofcener’s fourth film Please Give opens Friday and after meeting her earlier this week I’ve been thinking about her body of work and how unique it is.  Here is a woman writer/director who over the last fifteen years has been chronicling a generation of women who grew up in the wake of feminism.  Granted, she focuses on a certain type of woman — white, educated, pretty well off — but she’s honest about that as she said in the interview on Monday “I just write about what I know.”   If you look at the body of work you see some of the most honest portrayals of  women.

She lays it all out, the warts and all about relationships, body image, money, status, charity, family and love.

And she has done a lot of this work through her muse/alter ego (and they do look a bit alike) Catherine Keener, who is by far one of the best actresses working today.

Who can forget Catherine Keener’s troubled relationships in Walking and Talking?  Who can forget Emily Mortimer’s confrontation with the mirror and her body in Lovely and Amazing?  Who can forget Jennifer Aniston (in one of her best roles yet) struggling as a house cleaner in Friends with Money?

In Please Give she again brings out a reality of women’s lives with a brilliant opening montage of women getting mammograms.  The scene is done to the song No Shoes written by Paranoid Larry and recorded by The Roches (Holofcener is a big fan.)  As I was watching that scene I couldn’t help but think what guts it takes to put that in a movie today and knew that I was in for a treat.  She did not disappoint.

Up next for Nicole is some episodes of the new Mike White HBO show Enlightened starring Laura Dern, and she is adapting and will hopefully direct a Laura Lippman crime novel that Frances McDormand will produce.  They are going to start to look for financing after the next rewrite.

Film opens in NY and LA Friday and other cities in the following weeks.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

grrljock April 28, 2010 at 11:17 AM

I loved “Walking and Talking”, which introduced me to Catherine Keener. I agree, she is awesome. I want to see “Lovely and Amazing” again, to see if I will have a stronger reaction to it now (I don’t remember any strong feelings being evoked by that movie on initial viewing). I was, however, turned off and totally disappointed by “Friends with Money”. I just couldn’t muster up enough concern for these white, well-off women with their petty issues. This despite the presence of not just Catherine Keener, but also Frances McDormand in the movie. Sigh. Hoping for a better story and storytelling in “Please Give”.

Chris Evans April 28, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Said many times before I love her. Loved Friends With Money in particular, Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand and Jennifer Aniston were fantastic in it.

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