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Dilemma: Sweet kooky musician or rich businessman? 

Year: 2005 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Shopgirl

Director: Anand Tucker

Starring: Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman

Based on Steve Martin’s bestselling novella, Anand Tucker brings you a bittersweet romantic melodrama about a beautiful young woman facing the obstacles of modern love. Mirabella (Danes) is a struggling artist who spends her days working in the glove department at the ritzy upmarket store Saks, whilst at night she looks forward to labouring over her drawings alone in her L.A. bed-sit. Life’s a bit gloomy for poor Mirabella; her part-time artistic career going nowhere and no flicker of romance on the horizon. But as it happens, one day she strikes lucky in love. Almost simultaneously she meets not one but two guys who change life as she knows it. Jeremy (Schwartzman) is a fledging musician with somewhat unconventional ideas about how to woo a woman whilst Ray (Martin) is a suave wealthy divorcee who sweeps Mirabella off her feet. Both guys touch Mirabella’s heart but as all love triangles go only one can be chosen and someone is always bound to end up hurt, and indeed they do.

Seductively shot on the fringes of L.A. it’s a classy grown-up chick flick laced with witty humour. What elevates Shopgirl above conventional romantic dramas is it’s deeper than usual insight of the main protagonist. When cracks appear to show in the love triangle the plot begins to thicken and we get a sense that Mirabella may be more vulnerable than she first appears. Tucker’s sensitivity to the twists and turns of modern love reveals that it’s a pretty tough world out there for us girls! There’s a touch of sadness to the plot when we realise that modern lovers may be their own worst enemies when it comes to successful, happy relationships. But it’s not all gloom in the land of romance; Tucker lightens the plot with smart dialogue, stunning urban scenes and fancy frocks. With Danes in one of her best performances to date this is not just one for the girls. If you’re bored with conventional chick flicks and want to watch a romantic drama with a substantial plot then this is definitely one to watch.

Karen Bhogal

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Screenings of this film:

2005/2006 Summer Term (35mm)