Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Kissing Jessica Stein

Jessica Stein is an intense journalist who seems never happy with others' work, let alone her own. To complicate matters, her boss is her old boyfriend from college. She's from a Jewish family, with whom she's close, but who are constantly asking her about her love life and trying to match her up. She suddenly sees a personal ad and answers it only because it's worded just right and includes a literary quote. The problem is: the personal ad is from another woman, Helen. Most of the rest of the movie is about Jessica and Helen trying to make a relationship out of this meeting.

It's a comedy, it's a romance, it's a different romance, and this is just a different movie. I was completely surprised by how things played out in this movie; I've never seen anything like it.

I really liked the way the script (written by the two female leads, Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen) dealt with an interfaith relationship, a lesbian relationship, and particularly the fact that one of them is from a Jewish family. These are all background for a very witty script that doesn't hide from issues each of these present. And it's always wonderful to see Tovah Feldshuh, as Jessica's very Jewish mother. If I had a problem at all with the movie, it's dissatisfying to see women who are obviously not lesbian "play" at a relationship. But, you know, the movie even deals with this question, and not in a heavy-handed way at all. I just found the whole movie delightful.

This is definitely a thumb's up. For Ruth's take on Kissing Jessica Stein, look at her Jewish Film website.


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