JULIET, NAKED

A stripped-down rom­com…

Total Film - - Big Screen -

OUT 2 NOVEM­BER

The in­gre­di­ents look fa­mil­iar in this Bri­tish-Amer­i­can rom­com – Nick Hornby source, awk­ward love tri­an­gle, kooky sib­lings – but it has enough go­ing on un­der the sur­face to make it worth a look, with melan­cholic mus­ings out­weigh­ing belly laughs.

The none-more-Hornby setup sees fan­boy/man­child Dun­can (Chris O’Dowd) thrilled when an un­re­leased demo tape by his idol, reclu­sive rocker Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke), sur­faces. Dun­can’s long-suf­fer­ing part­ner An­nie (Rose Byrne) is less im­pressed; when she leaves a scathing re­view that catches Tucker’s at­ten­tion, the two start cor­re­spond­ing.

The cutesy sea­side set­ting and An­nie’s job at a lo­cal mu­seum of cu­riosi­ties feel twee, but Byrne is re­li­ably charm­ing, and the role of enig­matic, washed-up mu­si­cian fits Hawke like a bob­bly cardy. O’Dowd gets most of the laughs as the self-im­por­tant cul­tural stud­ies lec­turer, but all of the lead­ing trio con­trib­ute to the film’s deeper themes of fan­dom, self-re­flec­tion and lives half-lived.

Di­rected by Girls reg­u­lar Jesse Peretz and pro­duced by Judd Apa­tow, Juliet is a lit­tle too low-key for its own good, never quite gen­er­at­ing ex­tremes of emo­tion. But it’s poignant and sharp enough for any­one who pines for the days when rom­coms had sub­stance as stan­dard. Matt May­tum

THE VER­DICT

An un­der­stated, charm­ing dram­edy that can me­an­der, but is el­e­vated by the combo of Byrne, Hawke and O’Dowd.

Cer­tifi­Cate TBC Di­reC­tor Jesse Peretz Star­ring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Chris O’Dowd SCreen­play Ev­ge­nia Peretz, Jim Tay­lor, Tamara Jenk­ins DiS­trib­u­tor Uni­ver­sal run­ning time 105 mins they agreed to dis­agree about his shirt…

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