Every year there are a couple of movies that I love which somehow fly under the radar for most cinemafile. They are usually animated but sometimes a live action captures my fancy and I feel it my duty to tell everyone about. Well, one of this year’s entries is definitely the delightful Juliet, Naked.
Directed by Jesse Peretz, Juliet, Naked is based on the delightful novel by Nick Hornby (who is one of my favorite writers) and I just loved it. It’s about 3 people led by Rose Byrne as a British woman named Annie. She is in her mid to late 30s and is beginning to realize she let her life slip by for 15 years without really thinking about what she wanted. She has been in a committed relationship with a man named Duncan played by Chris O’Dowd. Duncan is obsessed with an American singer named Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) who vanished after a very successful debut album. Now Duncan and a group of online friends hyper-analyze his songs, record cover albums and postulate theories on where Tucker may be and what he is doing.
Through various contrivances Annie ends up getting an email from Tucker and the two start conversing and because she is so sick of everything Tucker Crowe she is honest with him in a way Duncan could never be. Surprisingly the two have a lot in common despite having taken very different paths in life (the main difference is Annie has no children and Tucker has 5 with different women). Tucker ends up going to England and when the 2 meet it is delightful especially with how Duncan reacts to Annie and Duncan’s friendship.
This movie was just delightful. It was funny, warm-hearted and everyone had great chemistry. I liked they didn’t make Duncan out to be a fool but the script had something to say about obsession and how easy it is to go overboard when you are surrounded by other people also going overboard (also what ridiculous thing scan unite us and create friendships in this day and age). It’s not entirely predictable and the characters are all flawed but believable.
I greatly related to the film because there are a ton of people that I bond with all over the world over things like Survivor, Disney, Hallmark movies etc and this movie speaks to both the seriousness and frivolity of those bonds. In some ways it reminded me of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, which is also a romance built around fandoms and obsession. Both are funny and sweet and lovely!
Rottentomatoes consensus says Juliet, Naked has a “disappointingly ordinary story.” I guess that is what I liked about it. It was charming but also quite real and easy to relate with. I suppose some see that as a flaw but I didn’t. Check it out! I bet you will enjoy it
(Also the title sounds more racy than it actually is. It’s R for some language and mild sensuality. Fine for teens and adults imo)