Film Review: She Came To Me
She Came To Me
Director: Rebecca Miller
Round Films and Somewhere Pictures
In Theaters: 10.06
Some movies fail because of what they are lacking. She Came to Me, the newest dramedy from writer/director Rebecca Miller, is undone by an unfocused excess of everything.
Steven Lauddem (Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones, Cyrano) is a composer who has fallen into a creative rut and finds himself depressed and hopelessly blocked. He spends his days sulking around the house and getting on the nerves of his wife, Patricia (Anne Hathaway), who used to be his therapist. One day when Patricia pushes Steven to get out of the house and go for a walk, he finds himself in a pub where he meets a tugboat captain named Catrina (Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny, Spider-Man: No Way Home) who is “addicted to romance,” and an afternoon’s tryst with her inspires Steven to write a new opera. Meanwhile, Patricia’s son Julian (Evan Ellison, Devil in Ohio) is falling for his first love, the fair Tereza (Harlow Jane, High Desert). Throughoutit all, Patricia finds that she is losing her grip on the life she thought she wanted and contemplating a drastic change.
She Came To Me plays more than a little like the kind of film that Woody Allen was making 15 or more years ago, back when audiences were avoiding his films simply because they had devolved into being one insufferably boorish misfire after another, and not because he’s an objectively disgusting person. The disjointed story has a quirky charm up to a point, after which it just feels like the film is laboring so hard to revel in its quirks that it becomes embarrassing. From the abundance of ridiculous characters—the romance-addicted tugboat captain somehow managing to be only the third silliest personality—to the frequent and largely unmotivated shifts from one aspect ratio to another, She Came To Me is crying out for a Ritalin prescription.
Dinklage and Tomei have a breezy chemistry that accounts for most of what works about She Came to Me, and Tomei in particular deserves praise for making such an absurd character actually breathe life into the film. Hathaway, an incredible actress who has raised “being badly served by flawed material” to an art form, finally succeeds at finding a more insipid character than the one she played in the 2010 debacle Love and Other Drugs. Patricia’s asinine character arc allows Hathaway to evolve from clinical and proper iciness into outrageous histrionics. It’s tempting to compare it to driving slowly past a car accident, except that no insurance in the world covers “I don’t want be a therapist anymore; I’m going to strip naked in front of a patient, scream at the top of my lungs and then become a nun!” Almost as awkward is Brian d’Arcy James (West Side Story) as Trey, Tereza’s racist Civil War–reenactor stepfather, a puzzlingly intrusive character who exists only to create a major third act contrivance.
She Came to Me is watchable enough thanks to a strong and committed cast, though it’s hardly worth a trip to the theater. Honestly, it’s barely worth a trip from the sofa to the TV if you can’t find the remote. Miller, whose father Arthur Miller gave us The Crucible, All My Sons and Death of a Salesman does the old man proud in that the waste of so much talent in such an idiotic story constitutes an American tragedy in the finest family tradition. –Patrick Gibbs