JULIET, NAKED (15)
D: Jesse Peretz
Universal/Focus Features/Bona Fide/Rocket Science/Los Angeles Media Fund (Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Ron Yerxa, Albert Berger & Jeffrey Soros)
W: Evgenia Peretz, Phil Alden Robinson, Jim Taylor & Tamara Jenkins [based on the novel by Nick Hornby]
DP: Remi Adefarasin
Ed: Sabine Hoffman & Robert Nassau
Mus: Nathan Larson
Rose Byrne (Annie Platt), Chris O'Dowd (Duncan Thompson), Ethan Hawke (Tucker Crowe), Megan Dodds (Carrie)
Based on Nick Hornby's novel, Juliet Naked isn't nearly as risqué as it you may assume, for it's a romantic comedy with issues dealing with growing older, regret, passion for music and obsessive fandom.
Rose Byrne plays Annie Platt, the long-suffering girlfriend of Duncan, a teacher who spends his spare time preoccupied with the musical career of Tucker Crowe, an obscure American rockstar who cut his career incredibly short under mysterious circumstances while promoting "Juliet", his only album. Bernard blogs about the singer's work on an online forum, and the film itself opens with some exposition about the Juliet album, explaining that Crowe penned the songs following a relationship breakup.
One day, Bernard receives a package containing "Juliet - Naked", a demo version of the album containing unreleased tracks. He immediately blogs about it, much to the chagrin of Annie, who gets her revenge by posting her own review of the music, which annoys Bernard but wins over a fan in Tucker Crowe himself.
The reclusive singer and Annie begin communicating with each other and a transatlantic relationship blossoms between them and the singer's secretive history becomes more and more apparent.
Though the plot is a little contrived, the story is very charming, helped by some witty dialogue and good performances from the three principal leads, especially Ethan Hawke who really captures the energy of a faded, self-loathing rock star living with deep regret.
Author Nick Hornby also wrote another novel based on music obsession which was adapted into a movie (High Fidelity, 2000) and this could be seen as the same story but from the woman's perspective.
Adapted in a rather televisual style, it might be worth waiting for on the small screen - but Nick Hornby's fans should certainly give it a watch.