Movie Review: JULIET, NAKED - Comic Melodrama By Nick Hornby

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Movie Review: JULIET, NAKED - Photo credit:

One more film from the IMDb list of the 50 best movies of 2018 is JULIET, NAKED. Despite the rather provocative title, there are no naked scenes in the film. The name just gives impetus to the development of the plot and the unexpected acquaintance of the characters. But let's talk about everything in order.

Jesse Peretz's film is based on the novel by Nick Hornby, the famous writer, author of the novels About a Boy and Fever Pitch, the same light and pleasant works as the films based on them. JULIET, NAKED does not lag behind - its naivety enchants so much that I want to forgive all the stupid and absurd turns of the plot.

The director of the tape Jesse Peretz is already known to a wide circle of fans of the genre for his serial works. Despite the lack of awards, he won the hearts of the audience with Girls, New Girl, and sensational Orange Is the New BlackWith the full-length movie, he deals with the same easy jokes and frank, deep problems.

JULIET, NAKED Official Trailer - Credit:

The Short Story Of The Movie

A small English town on the coast, for someone - a cozy paradise on earth, and for Annie Platt (Rose Byrne) - an eternal prison and a ton of lost opportunities. There she spent her whole life. She is already 40, and the last 15 of them she meets with Duncan Thomson, a university professor (Chris O’Dowd). 

There was no wedding, no children, and the boy from school years continues to fan one rock musician, who has long since left the stage. Duncan is obsessed with singer Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) who disappeared from radar at the zenith of his career. In the literal sense - his room is more like a room of fan with a bunch of posters and draft recordings of one song. And Duncan also runs a website dedicated to the creations of his idol, where puts various crazy theories about where the idol could have disappeared.

Once on the fan site of this rock musician, the main character spoke harshly about one of his songs, which many consider being a masterpiece. The singer himself reads a comment, and correspondence is tied between him and Annie. Then one day a response came from the singer himself, who absolutely agrees with the girl’s opinion. After a long chat on the internet, the girl realizes that she has fallen in love with a real man, and it happened the first time in life. 

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And everything would be fine, but the singer intends to meet with his lady by correspondence, so he comes to her in England, where his best fan lives, who is the heroine's boyfriend.

In the romantic comedy, there is a place for betrayal, fear, as well as determination and new love. 

The Content Of The Movie

Confucius, as we know, argued that the solution to serious problems we should treat very easily, but the trivia deserves close attention. However, our life is such a motley amalgam of events, actions, decisions that it is not always possible to separate the important from the minor, to correctly rank them from an axiological point of view. From here - the mass of collisions on the basis of which it is possible to create works of art in the widest spectrum, from comedy to tragedy, inclusive.

The film JULIET, NAKED is just about this: that in a person's life deserves a frivolous attitude, and to which trifles we should devote our lives.

It is curious that in JULIET, NAKED there is nothing that we could condemn, nor nudity, and, in general, the story is very chaste. As I mentioned, the unevenly developing romantic drama is a screen version of the novel by Nick Hornby, the author of High Fidelity. No wonder that JULIET, NAKED spiritually continues the ideas expressed in High Fidelity, and it is in that form characteristic of the American indie cinema: a little sweet, a little cozy, with some excitement. 

Romance films JULIET, NAKED - Photo credit:

The love story told in the film may be charming, but the script definitely lacks some insolence in wanting to convey to the public the thoughts of the eternal, because of which, it seems, the film does not pretend to anything.

The problem of JULIET, NAKED is that the development of the plot requires a lot of time to get the three central characters together. Of course, in the side scenes, details of the inner character of Duncan, Annie, and Tucker are revealed, but this could also be shown in joint moments.

It is worth noting that the story itself, even though it hints at the romantic love story, is not romantic at all.

The romantic drama is small and even narrow in its script scale, and yet it cannot be denied that the film's crew, the writers and the actors were dedicated to their work. The essence is clear: JULIET, NAKED is not a story about how dreams come true, but that sometimes it is worth letting the past go. 

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At the same time, of course, all events take place in a vacuum, focused on the three main characters, so that it seems to me the film is not able to shine with spiritual beauty. Since in the plot the characters are adults and accomplished people, so the director chose a more serious approach in the production. There is no easy romanticism, innocent pranks, reckless acts and so on. But everything is rather strict, straightforward and with English humor.

The humor -  this was my favorite type of ironic, intelligent, sometimes sarcastic but not malicious humor.

Dialogues do not immerse themselves in dramatic depths, always remaining as if slightly on the surface, but at the same time conversations let us feel characters.

We are being offered a completely understandable, but not becoming easier, dilemma: what in life should be valued the most, and what should not be sacrificed in any way? The birth and upbringing of children or creative toss and aesthetic searches.

JULIET, NAKED by Nick Hornby - Photo credit:

The Personages Of The Movie 

Ethan Hawke plays the role of Tucker Crow - retired rock star who left the stage and his career. The former idol of millions left several albums and a loyal fan base that matured and loved to talk about every little detail of Tucker's work on the Internet.

The main fan is Duncan - a middle-aged professor in crisis. His bride Annie is disappointed. The quarrel of the couple leads to the fact that Annie harshly criticized the work of a rock idol on the Internet and received a positive assessment of the comment from Tucker himself. A humble affair begins between Tucker and Annie: he is in the USA, she is in the UK, but after an e-mail correspondence, an amazing level of trust develops.

At some moment, the tone changes dramatically: Tucker, instead of spending most of the film in the shadows like a lover hero, it turns out, he is a middle-aged man living in a garage in New York. The rocker, moreover, has a bunch of children from different mothers. 

50 best movies of 2018 - comedy film JULIET, NAKED - Photo credit:

Annie lives in a small English town on the coast. She manages the local museum, taking the place of her dead father, looking after Rose, her younger sister, a hothead lesbian to whom Annie replaced the early deceased mother. Finding an intelligent bridegroom in the provinces is not easy, but Annie succeeded.

She lives with a local college teacher Duncan for fifteen years. This man, pleasant in all respects, has one major drawback- he maintains a blog dedicated to the work of his favorite rock musician Tucker Crow.

But he categorically does not agree to have children, although Annie is overwhelmed by maternal instincts.  Duncan simply does not want to notice this. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, adored by Duncan Tucker leads the life of a hermit. He abandoned his musical career and devoted his life to raising his son.

Romance film JULIET, NAKED - Photo credit:

It turns out a wonderful disposition - we see two male antipodes and one woman. All the conditions for drawing a love triangle. And, we must pay tribute to the authors of the picture, they solve this problem of love geometry confidently and gracefully.

In the end, all the characters meet - in fact, if this trio did not meet together, there would be no conflict.

Duncan Thomson : You may ask, as I did, what caused Tucker to produce this cloying, bloodless, catastrophe? Well, reportedly, Tucker has found love. And I am here to tell you, my friends: It doesn't suit him.


Each of the main characters has something to deeply regret: have you thoughtlessly spent time on yourself, leaving four children from different women without attention, or did you live in one place, struggling with your own dreams to please someone else's hopes.

The fear that you are doing something wrong and wasting time is universal, applicable to almost all viewers and readers, which distinguishes JULIET, NAKED from pictures of this genre.

Music film JULIET, NAKED - Photo credit:

The Technical Side Of The Movie

The style of the film is a bit like Maggie's Plan with the same Ethan Hawke in the lead role. Colored nostalgic prints of the 60s and indie music in the background prevent the film from sliding into the bottomless sea of the standard “they lived happily ever after” and leave a pleasant aftertaste of our own journey.

JULIET, NAKED, moreover, is highly dependent on the soundtrack for evoking an emotional effect. Since Tucker has already retired for ten years, he has no new material, and most of the musical accompaniment consists of rock tunes by other artists.

Fans of Ethan Hawk will be lucky to hear the sweetest acoustic version of the hit The Kinks, Waterloo Sunset, performed by the actor.

Juliet, Naked Soundtrack - Waterloo Sunset - Ethan Hawke - Video credit:

The remaining hits of the fictional star, Tucker Crow, are mostly shown in fragments and are not particularly impressive. But in general, in the film about the musician and his feelings, there is not enough music.

Yes, it’s a formula and we’ve been here before. But the characters are engaging, the performances elevate the material, and the various dilemmas of each gives this more layers than you might expect. 


The Collective Work Of The Actors

The cast of JULIET, NAKED works at all levels of perception. The characters in their performance do not look idols hastily sculpted by cardboard but organically fit into the plot outline.

In the background of comedic talent Chris O'Dowd and Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne looks a bit faded. Ethan Hawke and Rose Byrne are great in the couple's scenes and a bit boring apart. The chemistry between them is simply lost in the moments when they go about their daily activities. Thus, the first 45 minutes is at least very uneven. 

Chris O'Dowd appears in little doses of film time: it seems that at times, he was deliberately made like a fool to make him more intolerable to us and less sympathetic.

The performers of supporting roles are also great. First of all, it is Lily Brazier. She perfectly uses the opportunity given to her by the authors of the film to play the comic role of the useless fool, who believes that marriage and having two children testify to the latent lesbian inclinations of a woman.

Comedy film JULIET, NAKED  - Photo credit:

On The Final Note 

Despite the artificiality of some of the images, JULIET, NAKED perfectly helps to stop for a minute, to distance yourself from the expectations of everyone around and to look at yourself from the side. And it helps to get rid of suffocating regrets and decide on something because the world is full of bright chances.

The film, of course, about fanaticism, music, and relationships, but most importantly - gets into the very nerve, if you are a representative of a comfortable middle class and a little loser. Honestly, the heroes admit to themselves that even talent, even passion, and burning eyes do not guarantee great accomplishments and happiness. You can quietly live your life day after day, sitting on the couch with an unloved person or a Dickens book, and after a couple of decades, wake up and start remembering lost years. The creators in this regard work as a kind psychologist who will carefully screw up the joke and talk heart to heart.

Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne, and Chris O'Dowd at an event for JULIET, NAKED - Photo credit:

JULIET, NAKED will appeal to all adult lovers of melodramas with a bit of self-irony, where the characters of the story have long been over thirty. Despite the provocative title, this is the most common story where the main character has to make a very important step in her life.

In general, if you are tired of cloying teen love stories, then this is your movie. Enjoy watching.

It's got heart and laughs in equal measure, and it sings a sweet, sweet song.


My rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 83/100
Metacritic: 67/100
Critics average: 7.5/100
IMDb: 6.6/10  



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