Ray Porter (Steve Martin), is a man who seems blessed with success. He is a wealthy person with a good job, and fantastic homes in both Los Angeles and Seattle. As a jet setter with a private plane on command to whisk him wherever his work or whims take him, he seems to be living the ideal life.
Mirabelle Buttersfield (Claire Danes), is about as opposite from Ray as two people can get. She is a twenty-something aspiring artist who toils away her days in the glove department of Saks 5th Avenue while she looks to find her big break in L.A. Mirabelle is a lonely lady who spends her evenings in a small apartment with her cat, working on her art and hoping secretly that her move to L.A. from Vermont was not without purpose.
In Shopgirl based on the novella of the same name by Steve Martin, the complexities and social dynamics of love and relationships are explored in a manner that is touching, occasionally sad, and always honest.
As complex as Mirabelle’s relationship is with the older and non-committal Ray, her relationship with artistic slacker Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman), is even more unorthodox. Jeremy despite being a peer to Mirabelle, is a spacey slacker, who lacks any semblance of the charm and polish of the older Ray, yet despite knowing Mirabelle a short times, becomes inspired to change his life and make himself a better person.
The central characters propel the film and it is their openness and lack of polish that’s makes them all the more realistic. All three characters have their problems, and have a hard time stepping out of their comfort zones, yet in doing so, allows the audience to connect and relate to them in ways that few fictional characters do.
The fantastic work of the cast aside, it is the honesty of the characters and their situations that drive the film as this is not a slick Hollywood romantic film, this is a film that takes an honest look at humanity and relationships.
Shopgirl is a true rarity as it is a film that is intelligent and entertaining yet never preachy and well worth watching.
4 stars out of 5