Maggie Feller (Cameron Diaz) is a mess… literally. She hasn’t a dime to her name (as usual) and she winds up too incoherent at her ten-year high school reunion to even know who she is. Her elder sister Rose (Toni Collette) gets a call in the dead of night from a man who identifies himself as “Todd,” and off Rose goes to pick up her sister. Maggie winds up getting kicked out of their father and step-mother’s home which puts Maggie out on the street… unless Rose takes her into her apartment… again. Letting Maggie stay with her – even on condition Maggie gets and retains employment and is out in three months turns out to be a disaster. The flighty Maggie has little regard for order and isn’t above hurting her sister by stealing a promising relationship right out from under her. With that, Rose reaches her breaking point and kicks Maggie out with little care where she goes.
Thinking she’d like to be an actress, the plan is to make it to New York, but after finding letters from a grandmother Maggie assumed was long gone, she instead decides to go to Florida. Ella (Shirley McClaine) is a kind-hearted woman who loved her daughter dearly but recognized her mental health problems. Ella felt it was unhealthy for Caroline to have children which put a wedge between her and her son-in-law following her daughter’s death. Afterwards, he forbid his wife’s parents from seeing his children leaving Ella in a fragile situation. The two women attempt to make up for lost time, but it is Maggie’s attitude that continues to wreck her relationships while Rose worries about her missing sister possibly ruining her chance at true love with a man (Mark Feuerstein) who actually loves her for who she is.
Those of you who have seen this or maybe just read about it and been appalled at the immoralities may be thinking I’ve lost my mind to have already given the slightest hint of suggestion that this is a “good” movie, and that is okay. Just because I got something out of it and was able to block out the rubbish in the process doesn’t mean you all will want to chance seeing the complete lack of respect these girls have for each other – and themselves. Rose and Maggie are complete opposites in the way they go about their lives but when Rose reaches her breaking point and cuts ties with her irresponsible sister, the pair of them realize how special their relationship really is. The situation in which we are introduced to these characters will, to most of us be distasteful. And, I am not pretending that I liked the majority of these women’s choices – i.e. the lifestyle they have carved out nor am I condoning them.
Maggie and Rose became close out of necessity (losing a mother at a young age) but remained so through their tender growing up years; Rose taking on a more protective nature, trying to shield Maggie from the world’s woes, which as it would happen probably did Maggie no favors. I liked how “honest” the script was. It doesn’t mince its words or message (in fact sometimes it’s a little too honest). Instead it offers realistic situations that would definitely drive an irreconcilable wedge between two people. However, at the risk of contradicting myself, I will say that some of the scenarios might be a tad bit exaggerated, but nevertheless Maggie’s “betrayal” would be enough to send anyone over the edge. The opening of the movie is, yes terribly flawed – as is most of the runtime, but if you can get past the first twenty minutes, there is a message that begins to form. And it is one worth heeding. Its ending is incredibly beautiful and I did love the small but cute moments where the title comes into play.
Both women learn lessons from the heart. Maggie’s “disappearing act” to Florida teaches her self-reliance and gets her away from surroundings she was far too confident in (meaning her behavior was only fueled by such surroundings). Rose on the other hand learned that love can be unconditional – that she doesn’t have to be a super model or even be defined by what the world says is success to be loved by someone. It’s in these instants that In Her Shoes is a one walk worth taking.
- Read my "editorial" blog: Oh Sister!
(Maggie and Rose fist appear on-screen engaging is a one-night stand type situation [two other scenes imply sexual relations]. There is alcohol consumption and foul mouths including bi*ch, sh*t, a** and da*n. The movie is rated PG13)