Annie Platt (Rose Byrne) is lost inside her fifteen year relationship with boyfriend Duncan Thomson (Chris O’Dowd). Worn down by his obsession with faded US rock star Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke), her frustration snaps in the shape of a withering online review of Tucker’s hitherto unreleased demo album. However out of the blue, the reclusive Tucker agrees with her and over email, a secret friendship ensues…
…littered with causticly charming, little put-downs and sly observations.
Fans of Nick Hornby’s previous adaptations will find much to enjoy in this sobering comedy about growing older and reconciling your past. Like ‘High Fidelity’ the dialogue is littered with causticly charming, little put-downs and sly observations. Always leaning closer to drama than the films of Richard Curtis, ‘Juliet Naked’ casts a similar eye over the ageing process and in the hands of ‘Cavalry’ and ‘IT Crowd’ actor Chris O’Dowd no discomfort is wasted. Opposite him, the faded rocker Tucker Crowe, Ethan Hawke’s chiselled good looks and down-beat delivery easily ease him into the role of the faded rock star. However caught between Duncan’s state-of-the-world kitchen proclamations and Tucker’s weary charm, it is Rose Byrne’s delightful Annie that genuinely convinces, sandwiched into a future that no longer fits.
Circling the same heart pools of ‘About A Boy’, ‘Juliet, Naked’ is fortunately not an attempt to squeeze a few more quid out of a long literary career. Hornby’s eye is as keen as ever and he nails it from Annie’s awkward English reserve to Tucker’s faded health to Duncan’s misplaced longing. Caught in the Waterloo sunset of their lives, Director Jesse Peretz’s gently affecting comedy drama will hold you to its very end. As a companion piece to Hornby’s other work, it may not have the immediacy of ‘High Fidelity’ but like Phil Lord’s town mayor, this is another literary adaptation “that’ll fit right in” with his other movies.
In short, don’t let ‘Juliet, Naked’s’ bittersweet humour slip through your fingers.