Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Breakup Girl: Movie Review

Leads three different sisters through life with a perfect mix of comedy and drama.
The Breakup Girl is Claire (Shannon Woodward). She's 29, a writer, and happily in a serious relationship. Well, maybe not happily. She's described as the type of girl who always finds something to stress about. Whether it's the meddling of her older sister or the free-spirited nature of her younger sister. She doesn't have a great relationship with her sisters. And then her boyfriend dumps her. Claire just wants to be upset but her family finds ways to impose further. 2015

Directed by: Stacy Sherman

Screenplay by: Stacy Sherman

Starring: Shannon Woodward, Wendi McLendon-Covey and India Menuez

But the film itself is just a simple comedy-drama. It's not about Claire's love life, it's not a family melodrama, and that's why it ends up succeeding. It's a fairly effective slice-of-life with a little bit of comedy mixed in with the drama of life. It starts with the introduction of the characters, then drags that out a bit more than it should, but swiftly moves into comedy when the inciting drama is finally added.

Claire's two sisters include the older, successful, high-strung Sharon (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and the younger, insecure, free-spirited actress Kendra (India Menuez). The sisters are completely different and at least two of them are always fighting, or passive-aggressively not talking to each other, about something. Currently Claire is putting up with Sharon and ignoring Kendra, and Sharon is trying to be supportive of Claire and putting up with Kendra. What their current issue is we don't know, but we don't need to know. They're sisters and they're as different as night and day.

The film takes an awfully long time introducing the characters. Apart from Claire and her breakup, nothing interesting happens. We're waiting for the inciting drama which we know is coming from the plot summary. Their father (Ray Wise) brings the sisters together and tells them that he has cancer and is dying. Thankfully, the film never goes the melodrama route. There's some simple comedy in the different ways the sisters process and deal with the news.

Not a whole lot happens after the news of their father, so it still moves slowly, but it eventually leads to a very funny scene of a misunderstanding. And that's about the time that the charm of this simple indie shines through – it's basic life with some well-timed comedy. All of the characters are understandable and relatable, led with Woodward as the quintessential middle child, and all of these characters are brought together with a perfect mix of comedy and drama. It never gets heavy and it never gets silly; it's just life.

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