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The films of writer/director Nicole Holofcener are trim and personal, lit with the light of real life and warmed by the friction of relationships bumping around onscreen. Informed by the style and stuff of Woody Allen (but with the caviling dialed down to base levels), Holofcener’s movies focus not so much on people but on the hinges between people, however rusted. With only four features to her credit, she’s hammered out a recognizable dramatic form, and if that form is now available in a popular cookie-cutter that allows for mass production among the faux-indie set, Holofcener deserves credit for shaping situations that can stick with us for years (I still remember dialogue from 1996’s Walking and Talking however feathery a movie it seemed to be during its original run). Holofcener’s films can be mistaken for bo-bo self-congratulation, and they tend to weaken when characters veer towards the ramshackle mileposts of redemption stuck in their paths, but her archetypes are made of flesh, bone, heart, and mind, and her stories pinch our edges with their truth even when their hands are clumsy. This is as true for her latest piece as it was for her previous ones, but formula is catching up to this director, whose own hand is starting to get a little heavy.

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