About a year ago I read the novella titled “Shopgirl” by Steve Martin. I was skeptical. Steve Martin, a writer, much less a good writer? I gave it a try anyway, the story intrigued me. I read it. Then I read it again. I wrote several characters off as having major flaws and I wasn’t sure if I should have – hence the reread. It was good but it wasn’t great. It was engaging but not necessarily gripping. I thought the story was lovely, although not incredibly written, it was still a beautiful story. It ends on a bittersweet note – she doesn’t get the guy, per say, but she gets a guy. I suppose that could soothe the hopeless romantic in me, and it did.
Last night, I finally saw the movie that was made out of the novella. Needless to say, I wish I hadn’t. I love Claire Danes – I really do. She’s fabulous. But the dialogue was ridiculous. Her character was nothing like I imagined from the novella and it really bothered me. What’s more, the narration was so corny that I almost turned the movie off. It was awkwardly placed, the tone was nostalgic but it was written in the present tense and Steve Martin did the voiceover but it was in third person so it was as though Steve was talking about his character, Ray and Mirabelle as though it was a third person omniscient narrator but it wasn’t. I’m confusing myself here. Finally, there were several long awkward pauses that could have used narration or perhaps thoughts from a character but were just silent, uncomfortable moments with shots on Mirabelle’s mom, or Mirabelle laying in bed, or Ray watching her walk away. Are you kidding? I was just disappointed. Incredibly disappointed. I really looked forward to seeing this movie because I thought it’d be a beautiful rendition of this beautiful story but instead it was a melodramatic cop-out of a good film.
Now I’m going to the library to borrow the novella so I can read it again and see if I’ve romanticized the work to the point of destroying my perception of it, or if this film was just badly made.