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Movie Review: Friends with Money (2006)

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Friends with MoneyWritten and directed by Nicole Holofcener of the indie hit Walking and Talking, Friends With Money is an independent character drama and social comedy about three wealthy married women, their husbands and their lone single friend they feel sorry for.

The story itself is simple and unfolds like a number of conversations among the characters during a midlife re-evaluation of their lives. It’s basically about four female friends going about their lives dealing with their marriages now that they have hit a status quo stage, while passing judgment on each other. I found it very honest, funny, cynical and depressing at times, especially the men Jennifer Aniston’s single character is set up with.

The film did a good job showing the good and bad in long standing relationships both in friendships and in sexual ones, while also showing the cattiness and importance of female friendships and the analyzing that goes into them. Joan Cusack, who stars as one of the wives, says to her husband while contemplating her friendship with Jennifer Aniston’s character that “I wonder if we met now if we’d even be friends.” While she’s questioning her friendship, her other friend, played by Catherine Keener, is questioning her marriage and Frances McDormand is questioning her life in general.

I enjoyed how each couple, although having many problems of their own, would still pass judgment on their friend’s life when alone. It’s one of those things that everyone does but not maliciously and the film did a good job portraying this trait in people.

Frances McDormand shines in her bitter but endearing role and although this is predominately an estrogen-filled film, the men have strong roles as well, including that of Cusack’s husband played by Ally McBeal’s Greg Germann and McDormand’s metro-sexual hubbie played by Simon McBurney.

Overall it’s a slice of life portrayal of friendship and relationships and although its plot is simple and quiet, the characters are far from it.

The Upside:
Superb cast, funny in its sarcasm and comedy and extremely well acted.
The Downside:
On the slow side with an abrupt and short ending.
On the Side:
Was the opening film for 2006 Sundance Film Festival and later distributed in a limited release nationally while managing to stay in the top 10 for the last three weeks. Also, during the film the friends attend a charity fundraiser for Lou Gehrigs Disease, which is what Frances McDormand’s character in North Country suffers from. Oh and one more — costars Catherine Keener (Capote) and Frances McDormand (North Country) were both up for Academy Awards in the supporting actress category for 2005 films, thus they had to go against each other although neither won.

Overall Grade: B+

Film Stats:
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener
Directed by: Nicole Holofcener
Writing Credits: Nicole Holofcener
Country: USA
MPAA: Rated R for language, some sexual content and brief drug use.
Run Time: 110 min.
Studio: Sony Classics (official site)
Watch the Trailer Here

By Tara Settembre, Staff Writer for Film School Rejects.

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  • http://www.tresbleu/blogspot.com Sister Ray

    I found this movie very moving and darkly humorous. Warning, though: People who have “issues” about being from modest backgrounds will not like this movie.