2006 - United States - 88 minutes
Writer & Director - Nicole Holofcener
Internet Movie Database User Rating - 6.4/10 - Link to IMDB
Roger Ebert Rating - 2 of 4 Stars - Link to Ebert's Review
My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars

This is an extremely entertaining and witty tale of four women who have been friends for a long period of time - three of whom are in the midst of mid-life crises. All of this is woven into that special fabric that is California and Los Angeles.

Franny, drolly played by Joan Cusack, is the one friend of the four who really has no apparent crisis-like problem. She is super-rich, and her biggest dilemma is that she thinks her husband spends too much money on shoes for their young daughter. Because Cusack is so witty and wry, she makes even this non-problem very entertaining.

Christine [Catherine Keener] works with her husband in writing scripts for movies and television. Theirs is a marriage that has turned stale. During the period of this film, they both come to the realization of their failing marriage. In my mind, they both give up on the marriage without much effort, but this is L.A.

Frances McDormand plays Jane, a highly successful fashion designer who is in the throws of a strange pre-menopausal mood. She is hypersensitive to the small injustices we all experience daily and has decided for some reason, known only to her and her estrogen-driven mind, not to wash her hair. McDormand is an actress who always makes her characters an enormous treat to watch, and in this film she has embodied one of the most interesting and humorous of her career.

Olivia [Jennifer Aniston] is the youngest of the friends and the one without money. She used to be a teacher but became disillusioned, so now works as a maid. She is in such a mental state that she moves passively through each day content to just let things happen to her. Aniston does a very good job showing a woman who has restrained her emotions to a point that they barely continue to exist.

These four actresses are supported by seven very talented actors who play the men in the lives of the women. All of their back stories add other dimensions to the wit and entertainment of the film.

I generally do not favor films in which rich and privileged people go around feeling sorry for themselves, but Friends with Money is so well-written and acted that it grabbed me and held me for eighty-eight minutes of delightful, rewarding entertainment.

Neil Turner
August 31, 2006

Friends with Money