Saturday, June 19, 2010

When Grown-up Finally Grow Up

Shopgirl 2005
Directed by Anand Tucker

Shopgirl is a story about a young women named Mirabelle, played by Clare Danes, who finds herself in a love triangle with Ray Porter, a wealthy older man (Steve Martin) and Jeremy, a struggling young musician (Jason Schwartzman). For the most part the film is about how life experiences catapult your own personal transformations.

The film takes place in Los Angeles a perfect juxtaposition to the story and to the character of Mirabelle. They couldn’t have gotten a better actress to play her. I have been a fan of Clare Danes ever since the TV show My So Called Life (1994). She is one of those actresses that plays the same character but it does't matter because you basically love her. She has a simple quiet type of beauty that is rare for actresses her age. As I am hanging on to the last year of my 20’s I can completely relate to Marriblle. Like most of us, she is just trying to find her way through the world. There is nothing really extraordinary amazing about her. She is ordinary and almost boring, which makes her so relatable.

Although I could relate more to Marribelle, my favorite character is Jeremy. We remember Jason Schwartzman from Rushmore (1998) and most recently in Funny People. His comedic abilities bring the character of Jeremy to life in this otherwise drama based film. Jeremy is the poster boy of the 20 something male. He is every good and bad date you will ever have. He is the guy whose number you delete and then try to find when your drunk and lonely. He is the guy with the most potential the the least amount of motivation. Jeremy is the single women's boyfriend.

Overall, the film and characters held the story together enough that the narration wasn't necessary. It wasn't even from a personal perspective which seems a little off putting especially since it was about someones personal journey. The film is based on a novella written by Steve Martin, so I think the print to screen transition was perhaps a little too literal. Thankfully even with the narration, it's still one of my favorite films. I have come to realize that most of my favorite films are not coming of age movies, but coming in to yourself stories, and this one is no exception.


  1. i love this post! it makes me want to see this movie! I already fancy the character of Jeremy (as I am a single girl!) and like you I adore Claire Danes, even if she is just Claire Danes in every movie...
    Cant wait til the next post, so I can figure out what movie to watch next

  2. Usually when people recommend movies I think, 'bleh', but Shopgirl had a quirky endearing quality. I'm still convinced that the line, "I'll protect you" came out of nowhere and desperately needed some sort of segue. I had to rewind that part to make sure I hadn't missed a line. Nope, he just blurted it out. Then again, awkward people make for awkward dialogue I guess.

    As for the narration, I can see why it's there. It would be impossible for us to read the older guy's mind without it, but I definitely think that there should have been less "tell" and more "show".