Friday, February 7, 2014

Stuck in Love (2012) [R] ****

Written and directed by first-time director Josh Boone, and based on his own life experiences, Stuck in Love is honest, moving and intensely personal, while still being refreshingly innocent. Greg Kinnear shines as award-winning celebrity writer Bill Borgens, who hasn’t started a novel since his wife Erica (Jennifer Connelly) recently divorced him.

The story open at Thanksgiving dinner during which Bill’s nineteen-year-old daughter Samantha (Lily Collins) announces that her first book is being published. Samantha is estranged from her mother, believing her responsible for the failure of her parents’ marriage. As a result, Samantha has rejected the concept of romantic love; her philosophy of life is realistic and nihilistic… enjoy life now, because after this life there is nothing. Her younger brother Rusty (Nat Wolff) is a budding writer; he’s trying to find his voice, and is quietly smitten by Kate, a drug-abusing, high school classmate, played perfectly by Liana Liberato.

Still in love with Erica, Bill hides in the bushes outside her home, watching her and her new husband fighting, unable to move on with his life, and not realizing that Erica might be having doubts as well. Erica, meanwhile, is heartsick that her daughter has shut her out of her life. The key to opening Samantha’s heart to Erica appears in the person of college classmate Louis (Logan Lerman), who finds himself falling in love with Samantha, while he struggles to accept the fate of his dying mother.

Stuck in Love deals with real family issues from divorce to drug abuse; the story is honest and it is one to which all of us can relate. The casting is excellent and the performances are perfect. When the film ends you will be left willing and eager to remain in the Borgens family’s world. If you have enjoyed character-driven romantic comedy-dramas like Crazy, Stupid, Love, He’s Just Not That Into You or Silver Linings Playbook, you will very likely enjoy Stuck in Love.

Labels: comedy, drama, romance

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