The Great New Wonderful

The second feature we saw at the film festival also turned out to be an ensemble piece. This one was quite different from Jam, though. For one thing, the storylines were only very loosely connected--I believe the only intersection is one very brief scene where several of the characters happen to be in an elevator at the same time. And where Jam was kind of lighthearted and sweet, The Great New Wonderful was more profound. The performances, too, were much more profound and moving. They were all really outstanding. Of course, I've come to expect good acting from people like Maggie Gyllenhaal, Edie Falco, and Olympia Dukakis. (Gyllenhaal had, arguably, the emotional climax of this film.) Judy Greer has been steadily rising in my estimation, and this performance certainly follows that trend. And Tony Shalhoub was, as usual, delightfully quirky. The two surprises for me were Jim Gaffigan and Steven Colbert, both of whom I've appreciated for their comedy work in the past. As it turns out, they also both have a talent for dramatic acting. Given the recent success of smaller films and ensemble casts, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see this movie garner some nominations when the awards seasons comes around. In my opinion, The Great New Wonderful is the best drama so far for 2006.

Viewed: 4/21/2006 | Released: 4/21/2006 | Score: A

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