Walking and Talking

Director: Nicole Holofcener
Screenwriters: Nicole Holofcener


Director Nicole Holofcener returns to the Sundance Film Festival (her short, Angry, premiered here in 1992) with the delightful Walking and Talking. Her take on female friendships, idle banter, and telecommunications in the Big City is true. But what makes this film unique is her creation of characters who are so likeable and human that you really want to spend a few hours with them and are sorry to have to leave them at film’s end.

Laura (Ann Heche) and Amelia (Catherine Keener), longtime chums and lately roommates, are encountering trouble in their lives. As the film opens, Amelia, a classified-ads editor, is telling her shrink that she wants to terminate therapy in four weeks. By the second week, she has reversed her decision; by week three, she has fragmented; and by the last session, she is jubilant. Laura, a therapist herself, has clients who include a man who sees little red devils and a whiny, macho fellow who is irresistible in her sexual fantasies.

Of course, Laura is on the brink of marrying the sweetest guy (Todd Field of Ruby in Paradise), who kvells over her petite ankle socks. Amelia’s two lovers are her ex-boyfriend, who’s addicted to porn videos and phone sex, and “the ugly video store guy,” who’s obsessed with ghoulish films and trade shows. That makes for a tough decision. The psychosexual problems the two women experience tear at their relationship, yet ultimately deepen their love and understanding of one another. The viewer senses a good time was had on this production. The dialogue suits the characters with uncomplicated ease, wit, and tenderness. Both the urban and beautiful country settings feel homey and lived in. If you believe in an unfettered “feminine sensibility,” you may hope that Nicole Holofcener won’t tarnish or tame her harmonious vision in her filmmaking life to come.

— Andrea Alsberg

Screening Details

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