mon 18/11/2019

Good Posture review - charming coming of age comedy | reviews, news & interviews

Good Posture review - charming coming of age comedy

Good Posture review - charming coming of age comedy

Emily Mortimer helps Grace Van Patten stumble towards maturity in Brooklyn

Sliding doors: Julia (Emily Mortimer) and Lilian (Grace Van Patten)

Dolly Wells’ directorial debut employs her best friend Emily Mortimer as reclusive writer Julia Price, having paired up previously in a TV satire of their professionally uneven relationship, Doll and Em. Mortimer cameos this time, as posh twentysomething slacker Lilian (Grace Van Patten) comes to stay at her Brooklyn brownstone and, undeterred by never having opened a Price book or watched a documentary, surreptitiously begins a film about her enigmatic host.

Frosty Julia and the tenant she calls a “lazy, entitled oaf” gradually soften each other’s edges. In a conceit happily forced on Wells by Mortimer’s brief availability, author and “oaf” conduct an epistolatory relationship, trading barbed dialogue in Lilian’s journal while the real Julia stays in her room writing, it turns out, not much. Lilian inspires her as a potential character – “Scared of women. Feral” – while the younger woman finally staggers into active if hapless creativity, leaving her room to brave gentrified Brooklyn’s meek streets.Nate (Gary Richardson) and Lilian (Grace Van Patten) in Good PostureIt’s a familiar odd couple set-up, bringing to mind student Rob Brown’s schooling by Sean Connery’s reclusive set-text author in Finding Forrester, among others. Wells makes her pair more intimately similar: seeing baby Lilian with her now late mother previously inspired Julia’s most beloved novel, Good Posture.

The supporting cast are sharply played fools, starting with Julia’s boyfriend Don (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), a sweet would-be musician eager for Lilian’s freewheeling company. He’s joined by mordant dogwalker George (Timm Sharp) and his romantic misadventures in a pooper-scooper milieu, and Lilian’s useless documentary cameraman, camp hipster Sol (John Early, pictured below with Zadie Smith), whose oblivious, enthusiastic inappropriateness confirms the project’s doom. With the partial exception of Lilian’s boyfriend Nate (Gary Richardson, pictured above with Van Patten), whose exasperated dumping of her precipitates the plot, men are soft, needy and nice. The women, for all their flaws, are in charge of themselves.

Sol (John Early) and Zadie Smith in Good PostureLilian’s amateurish filmmaking mirrors Wells’ own experience of stepping onto Good Posture’s set with sketchy technical knowledge. Lilian’s privilege, too, is second-nature to Wells, Mortimer and Van Patten, the respective daughters of John Wells, John Mortimer and Boardwalk Empire’s producer, so in a social circle able to whistle up Zadie Smith and Martin Amis as talking heads in Lilian’s film within Wells’ own micro-budgeted effort. Lilian’s one-night stand is meanwhile played by Van Patten’s boyfriend; another bit-part is filled by Wells’ husband.

Made near Wells’ home with her friends, this could all seem smugly cloistered. Instead she manages a gently funny coming of age tale. It’s affectionately told from inside its particular world, admitting absurdities but essentially forgiving, as characters cushioned from financial problems anyway bumble haplessly through life. It works because Wells’ camera loves Van Patten as she teases out Lilian’s aimless vulnerability, balancing youthful vacancy and vigour. Like everyone here, she’s essentially kind beneath her veils of smartarsery.

Wells’ DP Ryan Eddleston proves considerably more adept than Sol, bathing everything in warm, golden tones. Belonging to that subset of New York bourgeois social comedies which could almost be French, Good Posture was made with good will, and gets by on craft and charm.

It’s affectionately told from inside its particular world, admitting absurdities but essentially forgiving

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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