2. Shopgirl (2005); Relationships don’t always fit like a glove.

Directed by Anand Tucker

Written by Steve Martin

Starring Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman

Author of Novel and Screenplay; Steve Martin

This film revolves around a young girl named Mirabelle (Daines) who is working at Saks 5th Avenue in Los Angeles, California. She meets this quirky and somewhat immature guy named Jeremy (Schwartzman) while doing her laundry one night. A few days after meeting him, she meets this wealthy, sophisticated man named Ray Porter (Martin) and he blows her away with gifts and attention. She then struggles to stabilized and define her relationship with Ray Porter while Jeremy is off following a band on tour for a few months.

A love triangle? You would think. The thing about this movie is that she isn’t really deciding between the two at all. While I watched the movie, I thought that she was, but she wasn’t. She picked Ray Porter. He just ended up being the wrong one. So she then went to Jeremy. Nice back-up plan.

Communication is the real issue in this movie. If Ray Porter had flat out said, “This is nothing serious. I just want your body.” Then there would be no confusion. All this plays in contrast to her relationship with Jeremy. The two of them seemed a little more straightforward. Take for instance their meet cutes. While Ray Porter deceives Mirabelle with a purchase of a pair of gloves, Jeremy straight up asks for her number. While this plays to forecasting the result of each relationship, I also think that their meetings are also huge parts of each development of characters. Mirabelle went out of her comfort box to go out with Jeremy and then completely shocked herself when she ended up dating Ray Porter.

Like any other love triangle-based movie, monetary stability is always a deciding factor. Lon or Noah? On one hand, the wealthy and lovable Ray Porter. And on the other, Jeremy, the one that makes you laugh, but also makes you want to rip your hair out with frustration.

Now, this is one of my main issues with the movie. While Jeremy is “on tour” with this band (Who turned out to be the Red House Painters, by the way. Amazing!) he was forced by the band to listen to these self-actualization cassette tapes. When he got back to L.A. and saw Mirabelle we are supposed to believe that he changed so much. But, why have Jeremy change his life around because of these weird tapes? Why not let him really connect to the lead singer and have hardcore intense conversations with him all the time about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. I thought that this was a very strange way to allow Jeremy evolve to become the guy Mirabelle needs him to be. On that note, Jeremy and Mirabelle are both changing drastically throughout the movie, while Ray Porter stays identically the same until the very end when he realizes what jerk he is. I thought this was a wonderful thing to notice while watching the movie. It sort of linked the two characters together even while they were apart. Character transformations were mostly done through wardrobe and costuming in this film, which I always love to notice. Their three apartments were drastically different, showing their separate style and priories.

The artistic elements used in the film were really wonderful. I am a big fan of color symbolism and I was watching some of the special features where the designers of costume and set both spoke of the different colors used in the movie to reveal change. It was really interesting to hear their thought process. Just in case you were wondering, this was the pattern of color used: cool greens and blues to show contentment; more bolds and reds to show abrupt passion and romance; yellows to show happiness, both light and deep blue to symbolize depression; pastels to show evolution of change almost back to the beginning’s contentment; and then more bold colors to show stability and love.

Random: I loved how she had to walk up and down and then up again to get to her apartment. Showed the “rollercoaster” that she was going through.

Throughout the movie, Mirabelle is drawing this one piece of art. With every intense change in the movie she would color the white square’s perimeter with a thicker black, making the square smaller. This, to me, symbolized her sanity and stress level. She was trapping herself in one bad relationship that seemed to be the only thing on her mind. Art was used pretty heavily in this film. Creation of art was shown as a connection between Jeremy and Mirabelle, while art appreciation, such as visiting art galleries, was shown to connect her to Ray Porter. Art also helped us subconsciously be reminded the Ray Porter has money and Jeremy doesn’t. Usually it’s the poor that paint and the rich that buy.

I thought this movie was just alright. Maybe I need to watch it again. On the Becki Scale, I give it a 5.


1. Annie Hall (1977); A nervous romance.

Directed by Woody Allen
Starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton
Best Picture 1977, Best Director 1977, Best Actress in a Leading Role 1977, and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen 1977

This film follows Alvy Singer (Allen), a comedian living in New York City, through his unstable and neurotic relationship with girlfriend Annie Hall (Keaton). Alvy reminded me a lot of Billy Crystal’s “Harry Burns” in the beginning of When Harry Met Sally. He was very cynical and conscious of death during the movie to the point where you felt bad for him. Annie was a amateur singer and photographer that turned student. She was very unstable and anxious throughout the movie, and I’m not sure if that was because of Diane Keaton’s lack of diverse talent or because Annie was really supposed to come off as a little unintelligent.

This film is a basic model of the female psyche versus that of the males. After watching about half of the movie I came to the conclusion that this was the typical girl vs guy expression. I thought that the way that Annie dealt with their relationship was very different than that of Alvy’s. Whatever feelings of doubt or hesitation Annie felt, she expressed through various emotionally unhealthy ways, such as keeping thoughts and opinions to herself instead of saying them straight away. While she was off doing all of that, Alvy would simply make a joke and fill the problem with comedy. While this is somewhat true, the rest of the movie made me change my mind. Annie and Alvy did deal with their relationship problems different and with some of the movie supporting these stereotypical differences in men and women, there were a few things that made me rethink my original idea. Normally, women are the ones that overanalyze and confuse themselves about small details that guys overlook. I felt that in Annie Hall the cliché was switched. He was the one that followed her around and over processed every aspect of their relationship. He was the one that couldn’t move on after they broke up and whose life was changed more dramatically than hers.

The use of drugs was an interesting aspect to add to the film. It was a great way to remind the audience of the 1970’s setting of the movie, but also to show distinctive differences between the two characters. Annie relied on the use of drugs so heavily in their relationship that it constantly made them argue or discuss the fact that Alvy didn’t.

(Let me just say that I couldn’t get over how young everyone was in this film. I understand that growing up is what they should be doing, but it was just very strange to see a young Christopher Walken without his normal “charms.”)

I have only seen a few of Woody Allen’s films, but his style seemed a lot different in this one than those I have previously viewed. Since the film was based around Alvy retelling the relationship through the ending, he used a few techniques to help us remember that he is the one remembering all the details. Alvy starts the movie with a monologue of his overall views towards the world around him and the relationships that take place in them. Sometimes, he even used animation to portray his attitude of the situation. During the “flashback scenes” he would sometimes break mode and turn to speak directly to the camera and the audience. This was a constant reminder that we never really heard Annie’s side of the story.

One thing I have noticed about Woody Allen’s films is that they always seem to be based in one major city. In Vicky Cristina Barcelona, it was Barcelona. In Match Point, it was London. In Annie Hall, it was based in New York City. The cities he uses always play very important roles in the plots and I felt that NYC was a great choice for this particular movie. As they discuss in the movie, NYC was portrayed as a dying city, one to play symbolism alongside their dying relationship. When the couple vacation to California, it becomes clearer that they are truly two very different people that are going in different directions.

I thought that his movie was great. On the Becki-scale… I give it a 7.