In the Picture

It’s Complicated

Directed by Nancy Meyers

Rated M

It’s Complicated is simply a very good romp.

Meryl Streep can do no wrong in my book (okay, I haven’t seen her Lindy Chamberlain) and her performance as the romantic lead in It’s Complicated is another example of an actor at the top of her craft.

This rom-com stands out from an often clichéd field for a number of reasons and Streep’s strength as an actor is only one of many. All the actors do a really good job, it’s a great script, well-directed, intelligent and funny.

It also has a believable premise: that a middle-aged couple who have been divorced still have unfinished business and begin a poorly thought-out affair. Quite a change from the often forced ‘oh, look, we’re accidentally married’ or ‘looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places-

when-I-should-have-been-looking-right-

under-my-nose’ type situations that all too often seem to be presented as actual plots.

The exploration of reconciling past and present is done well, without dipping into that horrible Hollywood moralising so typical of mainstream American movies.

The supporting cast sparkles (particularly John Krasinski as the slightly goofy son-in-law) and it’s a snappy depiction of a close family who have gone through the pain of divorce and come out the other side, albeit with some damage.

Alec Baldwin, as the estranged then not estranged husband, also puts in a fantastic performance; he has fabulous timing, isn’t afraid of looking stupid and is extremely credible as a middle-aged rogue who can be both charming and obnoxious. His relationship with his second, much younger wife and her young child provides a stark counter-point to the central family in the movie and doesn’t pull any punches.

My only criticism is of Steve Martin’s forehead – botox has a lot to answer for and not much to say (Streep, on the other hand, looks fabulous without chemical or plastic enhancement, something also touched on in the movie).

Writer-director Nancy Meyers has quite a lot to say about ageing, women and men, family, trust, honesty and the damage people can do to one another – and she does it in such a gentle and amusing way that it not only has you laughing but also has you thinking, and isn’t that a great way to leave the cinema?


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