Sunday, October 01, 2006

Overlooked DVD of the month - FRIENDS WITH MONEY

FRIENDS WITH MONEY is a laudable attempt to make an intelligent movie about how middle-aged women interact with each other. It has pedigree: the movie comes from the same writer-director as LOVELY AND AMAZING - a really fantastic, insightful, funny indie movie from 2001. FRIENDS WITH MONEY also has a heavy-weight cast - including Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand and Joan Cusack as the friends of the title and Jennifer Aniston as the flaky no-money protagonist.

The movie takes a painful, up-close look at the neuroses of these well-off middle-aged women. It also looks at the petty indignities suffered by their drop-out friend. In some of the cases, the women allow themselves to be victimised, or enter into a state of mutual delusion. The dialogue and situations seem credible and ruthlessly well-observed.

FRIENDS WITH MONEY comes from a darker, more despairing place than LOVELY AND AMAZING - as a quick comparison of the titles might suggest. It has none of the leavening flashes of black humour or brief moments of emotional connection between the characters. LOVELY AND AMAZING was all about damaged and unlikely characters finding companionship in the most unexpected of ways. By contrast, in FRIENDS WITH MONEY, self-involved people live their lives in parallel lines. They stop once in a while to judge others - distracting themselves from their own inadequacies - and then move on, having learned little. The bleaker tone is evident from the final plot twist - a move that has been criticised as trite, but which I found allowed Holofcener to create a challenging and horrifying ending. Just watch that final scene, and the willing victimisation of each person in it, and tell me you don't feel physically sick. Now, that's provocative film-making. So, while I can't see myself wanting to watch this movie again, I strongly urge you to check it out.

FRIENDS WITH MONEY was shown at Sundance 2006 and went on limited release in the UK and US in the Spring. It is available on Region 1 and 2 DVD and opens in theatres in France, Brazil and Spain later this month.


  1. it remains one of the worst movies i've seen for quite sometime-the 'ending' sorta set the story on a drift to nowhere land,the characters were all boring and their troubles seem to randomly pop up here and there (no central storyline,i guess) and as a whole this movie,with its shitty attempt at bonding emotionally with the audience,end up overestimating its worth and cleverly disguised as a good 'thinking/life' movie.

    It was just horrible.Like'Swept Away',it just went on and on and on-

  2. Wow. Alls I can say is I know people like that and this movie captures them to a tee.

  3. I hated this movie. Terrible. I hated it so much that I can't even remember the "final plot twist" you speak of.