Film review: Shopgirl

Hyde Park Entertainment

STARRING Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman, Bridgette Wilson, Sam Bottoms, Frances Conroy, Rebecca Pidgeon
WRITTEN BY Steve Martin, adapted into a screenplay from his novella, Shopgirl
PRODUCED BY Ashok Amritraj, Simon Conder, Nick Hamson, Jon Jashni, Steve Martin, Marcus Viscidi, Meredith Zamsky
DIRECTED BY Anand Tucker

SHOT BY Peter Suschitzky
EDITED BY David Gamble
MUSIC BY Barring-ton Pheloung
DISTRIBUTED BY Touchstone Pictures

Screened on 2005-10-19

Somber Steven Martin crafts a pretty, mature love story.  Shopgirl resounds with quiet dignity.  Expert subtle direction from Anand Tucker (Hilary and Jackie), gorgeously rendered by Cronenberg’s golden-boy, Peter Suschitzky.  Shopgirl represents a deeply personal effort for Martin, adapted from his novella, and his emotion is evident.

Mirabelle Buttersfield (Claire Danes) is a melancholy young woman starting a life in Los Angeles, working at the glove counter of Saks Fifth Avenue, waiting as life passes her by.  Ray Porter (Steve Martin) is a wealthy, melancholy loner who seeks happiness through love he is incapable of returning.  Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman) is the epitomization of vibrant intellectual youth, gilded in inelegance, awkwardness, and innocent honesty.  Both men strive for Mirabelle’s affections, though the story’s focus is on Martin and Danes.

Schwartzman steals every scene he is in with heartwarming spontaneous charisma.  Danes’s wonderfully candid performance gravitates between lethargy and longing, and when in receipt of love, shines.  And Martin always bears a bittersweet smile, like a dead man watching his memory of a beautiful living world from his immaculate sepulcher; a spectating spectre.  Scant narration from Martin reveals that it was, in fact, his movie; the longing for lost love, lost from the mistakes we make while learning how to truly love others.

written by David Ashley