Posted by Alia Haddad on April 22, 2013 at 6:02 pm
The Pretty One marks the first feature film by director, Jenée LaMarque, but I’m not sure you’d know it. Set in the fairy-tale present-day (you know, the setting that is somehow timeless and yet still very much current), The Pretty One tells the story of a young, stunted woman, Laurel, who takes over her identical twin sister’s life when Audrey prematurely dies in a car accidentally. She moves from her small suburb of a town to the big city, which supposedly is not set in any place in particular, but I definitely recognized that Atwater Village pho spot as one I go to whenever I’m home. And that story book house? Just down the street from where I went to elementary and middle school. But I digress. It is only after moving to this nowhere big city town that Laurel is both finally able to discover who her sister truly was and who she really is, finding her voice, love, and talent in the process.
One of the most enjoyable films I have seen at the Tribeca Film Festival to date, The Pretty One containing just the right amounts of cuteness, laughs, and overall sweetness. Notice that I said enjoyable, and that is exactly what I meant. While I do not believe The Pretty One will be making the award circuit round this year, it definitely made the rounds on my heart! What did I enjoy the most about this film? Just what didn’t I enjoy?
True to form, Zoe Kazan took another could-be-simple role and turned both twins into complex beings. With Laurel especially, who ends up being the twin in focus, Kazan brilliantly turns what is easily a crazy idea into one that the viewer both understands and relates to, with the viewer rooting her on every second. Her timing was excellent, her portrayal deep, and her personality, truly charming.
If Kazan does not do it for you–although I’m not sure why she wouldn’t (she’s just so darn likeable!)–then surely you can’t resist the inexplicable appeal that Jake Johnson contains. I mean, I get why he is appealing, but why does he have that much of a spell over me? On screen, Johnson seems to contain as much charm and likeability as Kazan does. It’s just crazy! I blame his strong nose, but again, I digress.
Leaving aside the actors, it would be a grave mistake to miss the nuances of the dialogue, the beauty of the costumes and scenery (hey, that’s my hometown!), or the perfectness of the soundtrack. All characteristics lead to a thoroughly enjoyable and sweet film. If you’re in the mood for something feel-good, I cannot recommend a better Tribeca contender (so far!).