2018-09-14 / Travel

Juliet, Naked

A Review by Tammy Davis

My first thought: Ethan Hawke is old. After a quick google search, my next thought was, “Oh, he’s four years younger than me. Maybe he doesn’t look so bad after all.”

Juliet Naked is a delightful romantic comedy for the Ethan Hawke/ Chris Dowd generation.

Here’s the story, Annie and Duncan have been together a long time, both a little unsatisfied. Duncan is obsessed with rock star Tucker Crowe. How the next part happens doesn’t really matter —the headline is Annie and Duncan break up and Annie begins a relationship with Tucker Crowe.

Annie and Tucker are broken in their own way. Throughout the movie, we meet Tucker’s children and exes. Clearly Duncan was not Tucker’s only fan. Tucker struggles to create or repair relationships with the children who are a product of his poor choices.

Annie is broken in a different way. She and Duncan chose not to have children and now she regrets that decision. At one point, she says she wishes she had just done it. She wishes she had just become a single mom.

In the hospital scene after Tucker has had a heart attack, many of his children are gathered around his bedside. He tells Annie all his children hate him. She is the wise, sweet soul and tells him they don’t hate him, they are just upset and angry right now.

He replies, “Oh, they hate me” to which she says “Oh, what I would give to have one child who hated me.”

That scene reminded me of the old saying if we all sat in a circle and put our troubles in the middle, at the end of the day, we would likely each take our own troubles back. Cautious Annie and party-boy Tucker made opposite decisions, but they were equally disappointed with the results.

A touching scene comes when Annie is at a museum opening and meets an 83-year-old woman featured in one of the black and white photos. She tells Annie of that magical summer. She tells how she was always the good girl.

“You can’t get in trouble for things you don’t do,” she said. Her 83-year-old self wishes maybe she had a different life philosophy in her youth. Maybe cautious isn’t always the best track.

To me that’s the move in a nutshell. Tucker is suffering the consequences of his actions (drinking, drugging, making babies) while Annie is suffering from her inactions (not leaving an unfulfilling relationship, not having children). Two different approaches to how they spent their youth but both yielded disappointing outcomes.

As a 51 year old sitting in the movie theatre on a date with a man I barely knew, many of the themes of the movie stung. Both main characters spoke of feeling like they had wasted too many years of their life. It made me think no matter which course we take—wild impulsive trail of a rock star or good girl who never takes a chance or somebody in between— we probably all have some regrets.

But here’s the thing—like the characters in Juliet Naked, we can all continue learning and stretching and growing. We don’t have to continue on our course. One of my favorite quotes…no matter how long we have traveled on the wrong road, we can always turn around.

Juliet, Naked, is a sweet story of the second or third chapters of a lives. While we are repairing mistakes from our past, we still have a chance to find hope and a future.

As I sat in the Nickelodeon theatre, I looked around at the room full of old people. They were probably looking at me and my date and thinking the same. It was not a young person’s evening. But here’s the thing. After the movie, these old people were holding hands and filing out onto Main Street, going for a drink or an ice cream or going home to be with each other.

Whether you’re in chapter two or chapter 10 of your life, there’s always a chance for love, repairing, or strengthening a relationship or starting a new chapter all together.

Juliet, Naked, I highly recommend it.

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