Thursday, August 30, 2018

Movie Review: "Juliet, Naked" (2018)

Director: Jesse Peretz
Year: 2018
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

A woman becomes online pen pals with her longtime boyfriend's idol, musician Tucker Crowe, after giving his demo album a bad review on her boyfriend's Tucker Crowe fan forum.

"It has become clear that all along, he has been in love with another man." (Image Source)
"Juliet, Naked" is directed by Jesse Peretz, who has also directed the film "Our Idiot Brother." He is probably better known for directing episodes of acclaimed television shows such as "Nurse Jackie," "Girls," and "GLOW." The screenplay is adapted from a novel by Nick Hornby, who has had numerous works adapted into films like "High Fidelity," "About a Boy," and "Brooklyn." Despite what the title may lead you to believe, no character in this film is named Juliet, and nobody ever gets naked. This story revolves around a woman named Annie (Rose Byrne). Her longtime boyfriend Drew (Chris O'Dowd) is obsessed with an indie rocker named Tucker Crowe, who released one album many decades ago only to disappear from the music world without a trace. Drew is such a big fan that he even runs a Tucker Crowe fan site. He has recently received an unreleased demo recording of Crowe's album "Juliet" titled "Juliet, Naked." He loves the album, but when Annie gives the recording a negative review on Drew's fan site, she is contacted by the actual Tucker Crowe who shockingly agrees with her view of the album. From that point on, the two of them spark up a friendship that develops over e-mail until they eventually meet in person.
"I need to listen to this on my own. It stinks of betrayal in here." (Image Source)
Like many Nick Hornby adaptations, "Juliet, Naked" is a sweet and charming comedic romance. The comedy mostly comes from the wit of its dialogue as well as the delivery of that conversation from the film's capable, charismatic cast. Despite not being a professional comedian, Rose Byrne has always been an incredible comedic talent. She has appeared in several funny movies throughout her career, and she has superb comedic timing and very sharp delivery. Chris O'Dowd is also extremely humorous as an overly-obsessive Tucker Crowe fan who learns that sometimes, it is better to live in a fantasy world and imagine what things might be like to meet your idol rather than realizing how things actually are and being disappointed. This movie also has an excellent exploration of obsessive and possessive fandoms. It shows how toxic they can be, even when some fans come face-to-face with the person they adore and idolize. Drew loves Tucker Crowe to the point where it starts to define his friendships, his relationships, and who he is as a person, so it is devastating when his hero doesn't live up to his exceedingly high expectations. Finally, Ethan Hawke is wonderful in this, as he is in most of his indie films. He does a marvelous job portraying a washed-up rocker trying to set his life straight even though he can't escape the sins of his past. Hawke sings quite a few of the songs on the soundtrack, and he does a stellar job with them.
"You say the truth about you is disappointing? At least you have a past to live up to." (Image Source)
"Juliet, Naked" is a real treat. We wound up enjoying this film a lot. We laughed and smiled consistently throughout its runtime, and our audience seemed to love it, too. We relate to all of the characters in different ways despite that they are flawed people. This is definitely a lovely little indie you should seek out and experience if it is playing in a theater near you. It is well worth the price of admission!

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.6/10
RT Rating: ~79%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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