Shopgirl 15 (2005)
Dir: Anand Tucker; Starring: Claire Danes, Steve Martin, Jason Schwartzman
Firstly, Claire Danes holds a special place in my heart and for me can do no wrong. Just as Jared Leto was my teenage crush in My So-Called Life, Danes was the awkward, lonely girl that everyone identified with, and her gawky beauty was a refreshing change from your standard attractiveness. In Shopgirl, it’s her unusual good looks as Mirabelle that make Ray (Martin) fall for her over the superficial make-up counter beauties, and what follows is a sweet May-December romance which, whilst it’s hardly the weightiest of films is nonetheless enjoyable, if not a tiny bit irritating at times.
Mirabelle is the Shopgirl in question, working at Saks in LA on the glove counter and struggling with loneliness, isolation and unfulfilled artistic and romantic desires. She meets oddball Jeremy (Schwartzman) in a laundrette and following an unsatisfying sexual encounter he heads off on the road with a band where he attempts to mature a little bit and she draws the eyes of Ray, a wealthy businessman who lavishes Mirabelle with all kinds of attention but keeps her at arms length.
It’s a nice little film with some beautiful shots, particularly Danes in her little green apartment, and you can’t help but feel for her as she wonders where her romance with this charming older man is headed. The only thing slightly grating is the cheesy voiceovers that try too hard to ape Amelie with their ‘star-crossed lovers’ and various other twee metaphors.
Sweet, light, romantic. Just what you want on a Sunday night.