Monday, October 30, 2017

Movie Monday: If I Were You

I have a backlog of movie reviews to write because I have been too busy on Mondays lately to write an extra post. It turns out that "Movie Monday" isn't very convenient for me...but I do like the alliteration!

To catch up, I thought I'd go in reverse order and start with the movie I watched most recently, Saturday night after my husband left for Europe. As usual when he is out of town, I was looking for something female-centric to indulge in. I stumbled onto a movie on Amazon Prime called If I Were You that turned out to be very, very funny, with moments of warmth and emotion, too.

Marcia Gay Harden (don't you love her?) stars as Madelyn, an older woman married for decades with a career in marketing. In the opening scene, Madelyn talks on the phone with her husband, Paul (played by Joseph Kell), and he tells her he will be working late tonight and won't be home for dinner. It's clear that this has become a frequent routine for him. Madelyn stops into a bistro to indulge in a fancy take-out dessert for herself (two servings!) and sees her husband at a corner table having a clearly intimate conversation with a beautiful, young woman. Shocked and flustered, Madelyn hides in a nearby convenient store as the two lovers leave the restaurant.

To her dismay, her husband's lover comes into the store after her, crying and clearly upset. She buys a rope and leaves, sobbing. Madelyn follows her to her apartment, pretending to live in the building. Standing outside the woman's apartment door, she can hear her ever-more distraught tears. Worried she is going to kill herself, Madelyn knocks on the door. Her fears were correct, and the young woman, named Lucy (played by Leonor Watling), invites her in and begins to confide in her. Madelyn doesn't admit that SHE is the wife of Lucy's married man, though she does tell her she just found out that her own husband is cheating on  her. She learns that Lucy and Paul have been having an affair for a while, that Lucy is in love with Paul, and that he just left their romantic dinner to go home to his wife.

Surprisingly, the two women - both upset and in need of someone to lean on - get to know each other and become friends. Since each seems to have good advice for the other, Lucy comes up with a pact that Madelyn reluctantly agrees to: they will each make decisions for the other woman and tell her what to do. Lucy is still completely unaware that they are both upset over the same man.

What follows is a hilarious farce of miscommunications, mistaken assumptions, and a situation that quickly spins out of control. When Madelyn's husband thinks she is the one having an affair, he suddenly turns jealous and possessive and tries to woo Madelyn back. Madelyn encourages Lucy to concentrate on her career and stop obsessing over Paul, so aspiring actress Lucy goads Madelyn into joining her on stage for a very amateur production of King Lear, with Madelyn playing King (Queen) Lear, and Lucy playing the Fool.

This movie is full of surprises around every corner. Marcia Gay Harden is excellent as Madelyn. She normally plays serious drama roles, but she has a great sense of comedic timing. The other actresses and actors are all very good, too. If I Were You is wholly unpredictable, very funny, and lots of fun, from beginning to end. I laughed out loud while watching this movie but also found it heartwarming and honest.

If I Were You is available for free to Amazon Prime members or you can rent it for just $1.99 (link below - it says $7.99 but that's to purchase). It is also available on DVD (second link). On Netflix, it is not available on streaming but is available as a DVD.



    

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