Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I only got to read one review for the movie In Her Shoes and it wasn't even favorable. Still, it was the only movie available in the schedule that we wanted last night that was picked by my sister. So we went in expecting nothing, except that it would probably stink (pun unintended). What I realized later when the credits started to roll in the end is that I like it. Nay, I love it.

The story is about two sisters, Rose Feller (Toni Collette) and Maggie (Cameron Diaz) who are very much on opposites sides of the pole. Rose, the older one, is a serious, no-nonsense lawyer working in one of the top law offices in Philadelphia, a college graduate of one of the top universities and has what it takes to succeed in the coporate world. But she's also insecure about her looks, would rather go on overtime to forget that nobody asks her out, splurges on expensive shoes that she never gets to use anyway and falls hard at the first instance her handsome boss, Todd (Anson Mount) sleeps with her. Her sister Maggie is a beautiful free-spirit who can't keep a job, who barely made it out of high school, shuttles to and from their dad and step-mom's house and her sister's place, and flirts with guys to get what she wants. As much as Rose wanted to accomodate her in her apartment, she can't have a deadbeat for a sister so she coaxes her time and again to get serious with her life and look for a more decent job.

The final straw came when Rose came home one night to find her boyfriend and her sister together in bed. She threw them both out of the apartment and out of her life. Maggie tried her luck in Florida to visit a grandmother she thought was long dead (she discovered the truth prior to this on a visit to her dad's house and in the process of her snooping around looking for money, she found greeting cards with bills inside from their grandparents which their dad withheld from them). The grandmother, Ella Hirsch (Shirley MacLaine) is working as a caregiver in a retirement home and has also long given up on seeing her granddaughters after the death of her daughter. So you could imagine her surprise when Maggie called her asking her to pick her up right there in Florida. The added surprise came later when she finally realized that this wasn't an ordinary visit so she took her to task and made a bargain that she'll match whatever money she makes working in the retirement home. Meanwhile back at Philadelphia, Rose took an indefinite leave of absence from her job and is now walking other people's dogs which helps her take her mind off her problems. A persistent suitor from her office, Simon Stein (Mark Feuerstein) helped her in that department too that she couldn't help but fall in real love this time. It would have been a really happy time for her (the actions of step-mom notwithstanding) but she couldn't help worry about the whereabouts of her sister and she couldn't say anything about it to Simon for fear that he would hate Maggie for everything she did to her. Her silence gets in the way of their relationship and Simon threatened to call off the engagement until she opens up what's really bothering her. Meanwhile Ella took some steps to make up for the lost years she wasn't there for her granddaughter (the reason for which was that their dad pushed her away from the family after a lot of misunderstanding on both parties after the death of his wife and her daughter). She bought a television in order to break the ice between the two of them, while Maggie found some new confidence and respect from a blind old man she's taking care of. Unknown to her though, Ella also took steps to rectify the situation between her two granddaughters and secretly sent a plane ticket to Rose. This shocked Rose who all the while thought her grandmother was long dead, she flew to Florida but not before confronting her dad about this situation. Alls well that ends well but not before a lot of lessons were learned, wounds healed, vaccuums in the heart filled up, and rifts mended.

I do realize that it's what's generally called a "chick flick" but in this day and age, nobody cares. Besides it's not as sappy as one's wont to think it is. What I like about the whole thing is the lesson of unconditional love. You may not like the people that surrounds you, with their apparent flaws and their uncanny ability to hurt you without realizing it, but it's altogether different when you yourself decide to love them no matter what. That you'd choose their company and defend and protect them from a cold, loveless world because they themselves didn't know how to love because nobody taught them how to love and care in the first place. Both sisters clung to each other because they're all they've got. Because they also shared a bond that nobdy and nothing could break. They may have hurt the other but in their absence the other's heart grew fonder. I couldn't really place into words what I felt about this movie but one's thing for sure is that it sure is worth the price of the ticket you're gonna pay for to watch it. I do advise that you bring someone with you because by the time the movie credits roll at the end of it you're gonna need them.

* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

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