Tuesday, May 15

In The Land of Women

Get ready to fall

Devastated over his breakup with his long term girlfriend, Carter Webb leaves L.A. to stay with his Grandmother in her suburban Detroit home, across the street from the Hardwicke family. As Carter struggles to reconcile his own inner conflicts, he is drawn into the pains and loves of the Hardwicke women -- all of whom, in their way, fall in love with Carter, and all of whom, in their way, help him find his way back.

I'm a firm believer in the saying "First Impressions Count" and unfortunately, for this film, my first one wasn't a good one. Firstly, the title, "In The Land of Women", I truly dislike, something about it screams awful, weepy, chick flick. Then there's the tag line "Get Ready To Fall", seriously is that it! Get ready to fall asleep? Into deep regret that you paid money to see this film? The list goes on. Then, ok I admit this is personal, it's got Meg Ryan in it. I don't like Meg Ryan, and her presence in the film reinforced the idea that this was going to be an awful, weepy, chick flick. Thankfully, most of my first impressions were wrong, not necessarily in a good way, but still wrong.

"In The Land Of Women" is another film that has been giving people the 'Garden State' vibe. It's easy to see where those similarities exist - a young man working in Hollywood returns to suburbia to care for his family (in this case his grandmother), but ultimately intends to find himself, and inadvertently finds love too. Although that pretty much seems like the whole plot of 'Garden State', 'In The Land of Women' chooses to expand on that and that's pretty much where it starts to get bad.

This film had a lot of potential. It addresses so many 'normal' issues that aren't usually portrayed, in a realistic sense, in a lot of Hollywood films. Issues such as rebellious teens, adultery, self discovery, sickness and death. Nevertheless, although the opportunity was there to make all these aspects effortlessly fit together, they however did not. It simply seemed that there was too much going on and a as a result none of these issues were really analysed in any depth. It could have very easily been split into two separate, decent, films. The first being one about family relationships with Sarah Hardwicke (Meg Ryan) and Lucy Hardwicke (Kristen Stewart) being the main characters. The second, following Adam Brody's character 'Carter' on his path of self-discovery, possibly with or without Kristen Stewart's character. When it's that easy to completely separate a film, you know there is something wrong.

The characters themselves, in consideration of the sensitivity and emotional aspects, also lacked any real emotion. The only way I could relate to any of this story, even though some of the issues have affected me, was that I had the same name as one of the characters, and that was it. Adam Brody is my sponsored 'OC' alumni of choice, I (still) have high hopes him. Nevertheless, I think this was a bad choice of film for him to do straight out of the show. Carter and his 'OC' character, Seth Cohen, have a lot of similar qualities - they're both neurotic, clumsy, awkward and a little clueless. This similarity wasn't helped by the opening scene filmed in a diner that pretty closely resembled the one in 'The OC'. Meg Ryan's character , Sarah was intended to be a cold, vaguely unsympathetic woman - she played this very well, perhaps a little too well. I'm not giving to much away if I say that she has cancer, it's discovered about 15 minutes into the film, the only problem with that was that although the expectation is to sympathise with that sort of character, I honestly didn't feel sorry for her at all and this wasn't a result of me not liking Meg Ryan. It was pretty much the same with Kristen Stewart's character, Lucy. Although, I think Kristen has the potential to be a great actress, she was not able to show it off here. The only characters I liked were in fact the youngest Hardwicke female, Paige; a very sweet and precocious pre-teen, who was close to both her mother and sister. And, Phyllis, the grandmother, who was pretty much your typical pessimistic elderly person.

All in all, this film was really disappointing. There was so much wasted potential. Although, I like the idea that both of the older Hardwicke women were able to Carter in a way which they couldn't to each other, there wasn't really any development from that point to end up with their reconciliation, which made a lot of the 'story lines' within the film seem confusing and pointless. The whole thing lacked a lot of depth and emotion, which meant the story was boring and the characters unrelateable. My advice on going to see this film; Get ready to fall ... out of your seat with boredom.


  1. Aw, I hate that. Films that are just BAD are not nearly as frustrating as films that could be REALLY good and just don't quite get there.

  2. I need to start getting into watching movies again....you have inspired me.

  3. Toually Jen. Being disappointed with a film is a lot worse than just hating it, at least if it's awful you can laugh at it.
    Aww, thanks Fashion! Good to hear.


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