In adapting his popular novella to the big screen, Steve Martin chooses director Anand Tucker (HILARY AND JACKIE), whose artful eye (along with the film’s stunning costumes, dramatic score, and brilliant set design) brings the book’s detailed characters beautifully to life. Recalling her breakout role of analytical Angela Chase on MY SO-CALLED LIFE, a luminously brunette Claire Danes plays Mirabelle Buttersfield, a serious young woman (and aspiring artist) from Vermont who has moved to Los Angeles with hopes that, out on the West Coast, her life will finally begin. But Mirabelle’s job at the rarely visited glove department of Saks Fifth Avenue and her naturally reserved demeanour make it hard for her to find genuine connections in a place as isolating as L.A. It’s with a mixture of her need for human interaction and her lowered expectations that Mirabelle reluctantly accepts the awkward advances of Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman), a clueless but kind slob she meets at a Laundromat.
The opposite of romantic, Jeremy’s initial attempts at wooing hardly cure Mirabelle of her loneliness, so when wealthy older man Ray Porter (Martin) asks Mirabelle out with grace and style, she agrees.What follows is a touching look at the disappointment, confusion, and heartbreak that accompanies unreciprocated love, with Martin’s script showing particular insight into the experiences of its young female protagonist. In the end, the couple’s age difference is of little importance, as the film’s main intention is give Mirabelle some omniscient guidance (via Martin’s voiceovers) in a time of growth. Through it all, she (like the film) counters reality with the knowledge (and hope) that true love can change everything. While chemically prone to depression, Mirabelle is also a dreamer, with the strong belief that things could be truly wonderful, if only they’d fall into place.