Lovely and Amazing |


Jake Gyllenhaal, Catherine Keener, ...

(Lovely and Amazing: Alexia Pilat)

Holofcener’s witty 1996 writing-directing debut, “Walking and Talking,” has become a thinking woman’s cult comedy, thanks to its smart story of two friends (Keener and Anne Heche) juggling jitters about marriage, independence, and growing up. Her follow-up promises another portrait of women and their particular neuroses.

Blethyn plays mom to a trio of daughters: former homecoming queen Michelle (Keener), who’s drifting in a boring marriage; aspiring actress Elizabeth (Mortimer), an insecure idealist; and adopted Annie (Goodwin), an African-American 8-year-old who’s developed an alarming preoccupation with her looks. ”The themes are self-esteem, obsession with one’s appearance, being a mother and being a daughter, being a sister,” says Holofcener. ”It’s a messy thing, but the movie asks you to celebrate what you’ve got. Even if your family is completely screwed up, they’re still your family, and if they love you, that’s it.” The reunion with Keener was deliberate: Holofcener, who’s also directed episodes of HBO’s ”Sex and the City,” wrote the part specifically for her friend. ”I knew she could take a character that’s selfish on paper and make her sympathetic,” says the filmmaker. ”I was just hoping she’d like it enough to do it. It’s a lot of pressure: ‘Here, I wrote this for you – want to be in it?”’