Breaking Upwards (2009) is a romance about two really nice kids (Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones) in NYC who, although they love and enjoy each other, decide to explore the possibility of a break-up because their relationship doesn’t have the sizzle that they want. The break-up is further complicated because of her mother and his parents, who have considered the relationship to be permanent. The movie was the ultimate indie – filmed for a mere $15k and premiered at SXSW in Austin. The Rotten Tomato critics liked the movie at 61% and the audience agreed at 58%. I like the story and the acting a lot more and give it three and a half stars out of four.
Philomena (2013) is an Oscar-nominated drama about an underemployed journalist in Ireland who, for lack of anything better to do, agrees to investigate and write a freelance magazine article about an old lady (Judi Dench) who 50 years earlier had been forced by Catholic nuns to give up her 3-year-old baby for adoption. The cynical journalist (Steve Coogan) describes the story as “human interest,” which he says is a euphemism for stories about vulnerable, weak-minded, and ignorant people to be read by vulnerable, weak-minded, and ignorant people. This fascinating story, which is almost as much about journalism and the Catholic Church as it is about the “human interest,” is based on true events from a book titled The Lost Child of Philomena Lee. The Rotten Tomato critics loved it at 92% and the audience at 90%. I agree and give it three and a half stars out of four.
Waitress (2007) is a comedy-drama about a young woman (Keri Russell) working in a pie diner who finds herself in a miserable marriage with a needy, red-neck chauvinist (Jeremy Sisto). Just as she finalizes her plans to extricate herself from the marriage, she gets knocked up, which results in her meeting a kind-hearted, weak young doctor (Nathan Fillion). Andy Griffith plays a key role as the gruff owner of the diner who takes a shine to Russell. Amazingly, the Rotten Tomato critics loved the movie at 89%, while the audience was a respectable 74%. I love Keri Russell from her Felicity days, but she is totally wrong for a person who would be dumb enough to marry someone as ignorant as the Sisto character or hook-up with someone as weak as the Fillion character. I give it only two stars out of four.