Projections - Movie Reviews

Naked In New York

This film is the first full-length feature by Harvard University and Columbia Film School grad Dan Algrant.  I liked it so much that I hope he'll make a long career of making films of this quality.  Algrant's future appears promising since he was able to persuade Martin Scorcese to produce Naked in New York despite this being his directorial debut.

The story revolves around the life of Jake (Eric Stoltz), a budding playwright.  It begins with Jake seated behind the wheel of his car en route to the Big Apple and reflecting on the experiences leading up to his current adventure.  His early life with his family is described winningly and creatively.  The adults in his childhood are eccentric yet lovable and he describes their antics with both humor and warmth.  Like Woody Allen, Jake seems to have developed his creative flair as a result of the outrageous behavior he witnessed early in his life.

At college, Jake becomes involved in the theatre where he meets his best friend, an actor (Ralph Macchio) and his girlfriend (Mary-Louise Parker), a photographer.

The film's title captures the vulnerability Jake feels as he follows his dream to New York for the production of his first play.  Though celebrating his accomplishment he's also coping with the separation from his girlfriend whose career is moving her in another direction.  Alas, Jake is "naked" in New York - stripped of the habitual support system and surroundings which contributed to his current achievement.

The film's ending is simply beautiful.  Amid the many changes taking place, Jake settles into the secure knowledge that everything's going to be okay.

I highly recommend this film and believe you will find it, in turns hilarious, thought-provoking and touching.  Look out for Kathleen Turner and Tony Curtis as key players in New York and Jill Clayburgh as Jake's mom.  Also featured are Quentin Crisp, Eric Bogosian and William Styron, as themselves.

Naked In New York


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