Writers are often depicted as over-serious and depressed individuals by Hollywood movies and Lonesome Jim doesn’t break from that mould. This is a stereotype of course and we shouldn’t be surprised as character typing is the stock and trade in American movies. The happy face on Hemingway was a nice touch but aren’t there any happy writers in the experience of the author? Apparently the filming was done in James C. Strouse’s home (the writer) but I don’t know how close the film is to his life.
This is a light entertainment of a film that doesn’t threaten anything. The characters grow on you after a while and Evil, played by Mark Boone Junior, the drug-pushing misfit of an uncle provides comic relief. Mary Kay Place would be my pick for the best actor in her role as Sally, Jim’s mother. Very powerful. Especially as she reads Jim’s confessional letter near the end of the film.
I certainly expected more from Liv Tyler (who plays single mom Anika); she seemed very plastic and girl-next-door-one-dimensional to me. Casey Affleck (the title character) did alright and was certainly believably depressing. I found the change in the relationship between Jim and Ben (Jack Rovello; Anika’s son) helped the film along considerably. The basketball coaching was pathetic and touched my funny bone as I coach too (although I’m slightly less terrible at it than Jim is).
The ending wasn’t bright and shiny and fake and that was good: a reasonably realistic ending at least.
I’d say this would be a good rental if you are interested in those actors or the director (Steve Buscemi) and don’t mind a darker comedy.
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