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Stuck in Love (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 96 minutes.

Not for children

Writer/director Josh Boone hits a home run in his first at-bat with this touching, poignant, semi auto biographical tale about a dysfunctional family of writers. Greg Kinnear is a successful writer who is grooming his two children, Lily Collins and Nat Wolff, to be writers themselves. He is also mourning his divorce from his wife, Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly.

This is a brilliant story of relationships. Everybody has a problem with somebody. It is also a frank look at todayís morality. Kinnear is a non-judgmental father who actually encourages his son to get out there and have more experiences (read have sex).

Collins is a Liz Taylor look-alike who is incredibly callous for her 19 years who has a big bone of contention with her mother, Connelly. Nat, on the other hand, seems more sheltered. Both have fractious relationships with their significant others, Logan Lehman for Collins and Liana Liberato for Nat. For his part, Kinnear is involved in a sex-without-commitment relationship with Kristen Bell who is married to someone else. So basically the film winks at traditional sexual morality.

The script couldnít be better written and for a film that is basically all talk Boone keeps the pace driving throughout the entire 96 minutes. Adding to the quality of the film is fantastic music. While Wolff wrote one of the songs, the one that really drives the film is the 2009 Ed Sharp song Home which Boone says was brought in as a temp track for the opening credits but, ďÖwe fell in love with it and couldn't live without it.  It's now the title track of the film.Ē I had heard it a few times but now feel the same way about it that Boone does. It is a terrific song.

The acting is spectacular throughout. Kinnear always gives a good performance. I donít know whether itís intentional or not, but you donít see him in potboiler action or fantasy films. He has spent his time acting in high quality Indies, and thatís admirable. Last year his Thin Ice was one of the best films I saw. Collins steals every scene in which she appears. The others are of equally high quality.

This film has it all, some humor, some tears, and a lot of truth. As far as Iím concerned, this will stand as one of the best films of the year, regardless of what else comes out over the next eight months.

April 17, 2013