John from Hitchcock’s World is hosting a part two of his women in film blogathon! His first blogathon focused on the strong female characters in film, and in continuation, this blogathon now focuses on women behind the scenes - women who directed these films. To be honest, his blogathon came in at the right time, just when I was composing a part 2 of a women-directed list I wrote last year. The director I’ve chosen has been releasing critically acclaimed work, but has yet to have her ‘breakout film’, though with her recent film, I’d say she’s almost there. For this, I’m talking about Nicole Holofcener.
Nicole Holofcener has been working in the industry for decades, and has released seven films under her name. Her first feature film was Walking and Talking, and her recent feature was the James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus starrer, Enough Said. She’s also not a stranger to television, having been tapped to direct episodes of Sex and the City, and as recent as Parks and Recreation.
I do not consider Holofcener’s works to be some of my favorites, but I like her movies just the same. From the films of hers I’ve seen, she chose to work on movies that have to do with human emotions, particularly in her portrayal of women. She does not portray them as weepy and weak, but touches on emotions that do not make a person vulnerable, but rather human. She manages to bring the best of her characters out in film, whether it be the cynicism of Eva to her blooming relationship with Albert, the insecurities of Elizabeth Marks as an actress and a person, or even Olivia’s plight with her lack of financial security. She knows what to do with her characters, and her films do not appear to be one-sided.
The only criticism I have for her is that I wish she pushed her boundaries. While she is good in her writing and bringing these to life with the way she positions her characters, I think that she can expand her horizons when it comes to her film’s subjects. Most of the films I’ve seen of hers tackles relationships with men, and I think she can branch out her relationship spectrum into other human conditions. Do a film where her characters take on the concept of death, or of family. Besides focusing on older women, maybe she can tackle on relationships from a child or a teenager’s point of view. She doesn't have to stop portraying strong women, I think maybe she can branch into another angle instead.
Like I said, her films may not be some of my favorite movies, but when she releases a film, there’s something that compels me to watch it. I think it’s because no matter what the situation of the film is going to be, I know she’s going to bring out this wonderful being that is her characters, and portray people as what they should be: human.
Walking and Talking (1996)
Lovely and Amazing (2001)
Friends With Money (2006)
Please Give (2010)
Enough Said (2013)
*feature films only. The ones in bold are those I've seen