Director: Curtis Hanson
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, Shirley
MacLaine, Mark Feuerstein
RunTime: 2 hrs 10 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Day : 12 January 2006
HER SHOES is the alternately hilarious and heart-rending story
of two sisters with nothing in common but size 8 ½
feet. Maggie and Rose Feller are both best friends and polar
opposites when it comes to values, goals and personal style.
Maggie (Cameron Diaz) is a party girl who barely graduated
from high school, recycles jobs as quickly as yesterday’s
newspapers and believes her biggest asset is her attractiveness
to the opposite sex. Her recurring state of unemployment leaves
her virtually homeless as she bounces between the sofas of
her friends and relatives. With no confidence in her intellectual
ability, she prizes makeup over books and has an innate talent
for choosing the perfect accessories and clothes for any occasion.
Rose (Toni Collette) is a Princeton educated attorney at a
top law firm in Philadelphia. Her beautifully decorated prewar
apartment is her haven from the outside world. With her nose
perpetually to the grindstone, she struggles constantly with
her weight and never feels comfortable in the clothes she
wears. Her low self esteem regarding her physical appearance
has left her dating life non-existent. Rose’s one joy
in life is shoes (because they always fit), but unfortunately
she has few social opportunities to remove them from her closet.
After a calamitous falling out, the two sisters travel a bumpy
road toward true appreciation for one another – aided
along the way by the discovery of the maternal grandmother
(Shirley MacLaine) they thought was dead. Through their re-connection
with their grandmother, Ella, Maggie and Rose learn how to
make peace with themselves and with each other.
I'd like to think that sisters are always the best of friends,
and the worst of enemies, all rolled into each other. Based
upon the novel by Jennifer Weiner, and adapted for the screen
by Susannah Grant (who wrote the Julia Roberts movie Erin
Brockovich), director Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, 8
Mile) brings us a tale of two sisters (no, no horror in this
one) through a journey of self discovery, and understanding.
Feller (Cameron Diaz) is the hot sister. She has no qualms
about banging in the toilet with people she meets for the
first time, nor bats an eyelid at flirting her way to free
drinks at the bar. Holding no regular jobs other than short
stints at various sales positions, she can't read well, and
she can't do numbers. In short, she's your typical blonde
bimbo, whose street smarts gets her around in various situations.
I'm surprised that the movie started off with Garbage's "Stupid
Girl" as we get introduced to Maggie. Very apt indeed.
the contrary, Rose Feller (Toni Collette) is the exact opposite.
She's a hardworking lawyer with a successful career ahead
of her. Sure she might not be blonde or have a killer bod,
but she certainly has the smarts. She seemed to have her life
organized and her goals set, until one day she's resigned
to having Maggie live with her in her apartment. Not that
she hates her sister, but she has her limits when Maggie barges
and imposes herself onto Rose's life.
the straw finally breaks when Rose catches Maggie having an
affair with her boyfriend, a partner in the same law firm.
She snaps, and in rage, the sisters part ways.
thought that having them together will provide for many comedic
moments (not the laughing out loud type, it's the really subtle,
witty lines of dialogue peppered throughout the movie), but
here's where the drama and the movie really picks up. We follow
two very different lives as the sisters begin to look at themselves,
and improve for the better, in parallel.
development takes centerstage as we experience the pain that
Maggie goes through, that she has low self confidence and
esteem, and how she overcomes that, through her interaction,
and encouragement, from a grandmother she never knew, Ella
Hirsch (played by the regal Shirley MacLaine). Rose finds
new love, and through that new love, regains her
own confidence in being herself. Dumping her job may be the
best thing she ever did, what once was eating into her life,
she has retaken, and living it, though many would think it
insane to have thrown a lucrative career out of the window.
life at Ella's retirement home might be funny (with her turning
on the heat amongst retired men), while Rose's experience
with new love take on a more serious tone, but we learn that
the two sisters have something more in common than their shoe
that is the love they have for each other (and not admitting
it), and for their mother.
also amazing how much story can go into the mother character
of the two sisters, a character that is not played out on
screen, but only brought to the movie through dialogue. We
discover the immense love that she has for her children, while
battling her own illness, and the prejudices her husband and
her own mum have labelled on her. Moments like this, you'd
want to whip out your tissues.
the two sisters would meet again, with the help of Ella, and
the most powerful of scenes are when the three fill the screen
with emotions from the heart - how well-meaning notions can
be misconstrued, that we realize we somehow always say the
most hated things
to the people we love, and how they always forgive our mistakes.
No overacting, no over-dramatizing. You'll be surprised at
how simple it's all kept at.
my only gripe would be how the film meanders itself to arrive
at this stage. Not that the movie is slow, but it takes its
time to tell a complete story, with quite a huge cast of interesting,
supporting (though at times cliched) characters, and subplots
that don't seem to be in a hurry. But you realize that it's
not about the destination that matters, but the journey, and
you'll hardly feel that this movie is slightly over 2 hours
movie should appeal to a wide range of audiences, and it will
be common misconception to label it flatly as a chick flick.
Sure, the girls will be able to easily identify with the issues
presented, while the guys will have a field day with clothes-horse
Diaz, as she drapes every scene in cleavage baring, figure
hugging, or leg revealing outfits, flashing her butt in a
thong, bikini, or shorts.
look beyong the skin, and judge not the book by its cover.
The actresses seem to be playing
cariacatures of themselves at the beginning of the movie,
especially Diaz. But as the movie develops, so do the characters,
and so does the acting, convincing you of the change effortlessly.
Shirley MacLaine is priceless as the grandmother Ella, as
she finds her
way to get through the generation gap to communicate with
her grand-daughters, whom she has not met in ages.
the more mature audiences, perhaps its time to take stock
of family relationships, of letting bygones be bygones, of
forgiving and reconciliation. Having the movie set half the
time in a retirement home, made me wonder how my retirement
would be like - bitter, regretful, or filled with activities
and looking forward to new life when the hair is silver.
some may pass off the ending as Hollywood fluff, I beg to
differ. This movie ended in a way that it should end, and
reinforced many messages that you'll come to be reminded of,
about family, siblings, and putting yourself in someone else's
shoes and walking around in them.
by Stefan Shih
(An honest story about sibling love, rivalry, and family,
that blood always runs thicker
than water. An excellent story brought to life by a brilliant