It's a glowing article. And Meyers's movies have indeed done very, very well at the box office.
And the article certainly hits on a lot of what's truly lovely about the movie -- the details are wonderful. The locations, the furniture, the bakery where Streep's character works.
-- Wait, this isn't really the post I want to write. Let me try this again. --
On Friday, the 2009 Black List was released, which is a list of the best unproduced screenplays, as voted on by executives in the industry. I've been able to get my hands on a bunch of the scripts and I've read 8 or 9 of them over the past few days, cherry-picking the ones that sounded most interesting to me.
And for the most part, I've enjoyed the ones I've read.
Trying to crank through draft number [who cares] of an Anonymous Lawyer screenplay, I appreciate that it's hard to get these things right. It's really hard to balance character and plot. It's really hard to create secondary characters that feel like real people when a screenplay is really pretty darn short. Think about the non-leads in most movies and how many lines they really have. To establish any sort of real character in the very limited space on the page is not that easy.
And to map out plot that works, and to populate that plot with characters that feel real and are funny and say and do what they need to say and do to most effectively tell the story you're trying to tell -- it's hard.
And if you want to add a layer on top of that -- if you want to create something that says something, that is more than just characters and a story but has some meaning behind it, has some connection to reality, has something it's actually trying to say -- that's even harder.
I've written about this before when it comes to books and the authors I want to read -- I wrote about it in my recent post about Paul Collins and his Shakespeare book -- but what excites me isn't really plot and isn't really character. It's point of view, it's some sort of human connection. If I feel like I'm getting inside someone's head, inside the head of the writer, understanding the kinds of things someone is thinking about, their anxieties, their take on what it means to live a life, I don't know -- that's what makes me turn pages.
It's hard enough to find that in a book -- but in a screenplay, it's really, really hard. I read a screenplay that the comedian Demetri Martin wrote a few years ago, called Will. The draft I read of the Ricky Gervais movie The Invention of Lying (although not really the movie that ultimately resulted from it). A lot of Albert Brooks's movies. Parts of Judd Apatow's Funny People, although not as much as I hoped for. The list is not that long.
And the stuff I've read so far off The Black List, while readable and funny and for the most part well-plotted and nicely-crafted, hasn't excited me as much as I would have hoped.
-- Which gets me back to It's Complicated. --
Reading the New York Times Magazine piece, I can't help but like Nancy Meyers. She's clearly terrific at what she does, she clearly has a point of view, she's clearly passionate about the work she does.
She seems much more interesting than the characters that ended up in the movie. Which is disappointing.