Cast: Toni Collette, Cameron Diaz, Shirley MacLaine
Director: Curtis Hanson
Screenplay: Susannah Grant
Rated: M moderate sexual references, moderate themes
Running Time: 130 Minutes
Friends. Rivals. Sisters.
'In Her Shoes' is the alternately hilarious and heart-rending story of two sisters with nothing in common but size 8 ½ feet. Maggie and Rose Feller are both best friends and polar opposites when it comes to values, goals and personal style.
Maggie (Cameron Diaz) is a party girl, Rose (Toni Collette) is a Princeton educated attorney at a top law firm in Philadelphia and after a calamitous falling out, the two sisters travel a bumpy road toward true appreciation for one another - aided along the way by the discovery of the maternal grandmother (Shirley MacLaine) they thought was dead. Through their re-connection with their grandmother, Ella, Maggie and Rose learn how to make peace with themselves and with each other.
Maggie (Cameron Diaz) and Rose (Toni Collette) are sisters who are like chalk and cheese. Although they share a fierce sibling loyalty, their morals and principles are poles apart which sometimes sees them best of friends and at other times, fierce enemies. Maggie is the loose cannon wild child that lives life for the moment and comes unstuck when she becomes drunk once too often, is thrown out of home by her bossy step-mother and finds herself sharing the apartment of her sensible shoe-loving lawyer sister Rose.
More moments of disgrace follow for Maggie when she oversteps the mark with Rose and she finds out by accident that the maternal grandmother she thought had abandoned her and Rose after the death of their mother is still alive and living in Florida. So Maggie heads off in search of her grandmother Ella (Shirley MacLaine), finds her and promptly settles in, arousing much curiosity in the retirement community where Ella lives. Meanwhile, Rose finds herself at a crossroad and also decides to track down her grandmother. The three women then face numerous emotional challenges as they learn about each other, past and present.
'In Her Shoes' is a surprisingly moving and poignant character driven drama that is interlaced with witty observations about life and its idiosyncrasies. Toni Collette is a class act as the levelheaded yet vulnerable Rose and covers a range of emotions with sensitivity and depth. Cameron Diaz is a total revelation as the free-spirited yet emotionally fragile Maggie and proves that she really is capable of producing a credible performance. Shirley MacLaine is however the standout here for her almost understated role as the wise and astute grandmother Ella. MacLaine is quietly brilliant and it is this aspect that had all but disappeared from her more recent roles (think 'Bewitched' 2005) so it is great to see her back to her best.
At what initially appears to be a regulation chick-flick, 'In Her Shoes' slowly reveals itself to be more of an insightful and perceptive study of family dynamics and the strong bonds that hold a family together. Perhaps a little too long at just over 2 hours, it is still a very enjoyable and rewarding movie that is held together by three very strong and touching performances from Collette, Diaz and MacLaine. This is definitely one of the better movies that delve into family dramas and it may even make you shed a tear or two.
Rating : ***½