Another Nick Hornby novel set mainly in a scenic coastal British village is adapted with fetching, if feathery results in tying together culture, music and relationships. Here it’s Jesse Peretz of Our Idiot Brother and HBO’s Girls at the helm.
Juliet, Naked stars Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd, and Ethan Hawke often enjoyable for its untidy restrained light-heartedness even if its glib machinations and actual set-up could be considered unfavorable.
O’Dowd’s film professor Duncan frames the proceedings in a way through his fandom for scruffy, goateed 1990s alternative rock star Tucker Crowe (Hawke, eliciting some world-weary personality). Duncan’s museum curator girlfriend of fifteen years, Annie (Byrne), has been accommodating though discouraged in his highly specialized passion (a website is devoted to the unsung legend who just left the stage during a Minneapolis performance for a former wife’s garden shed in upstate New York) while he amusingly connects Greek mythology to notable authors and cable television series.
Four scribes contributed on elaborating the dynamic of these three who’ll meet through panning and philandering, especially in the case of Annie and Tucker through a swivel of online serendipity. Being between the vain exploiting Duncan and the regretful, shambling recluse isn’t easy for a woman transitioning into early middle age and Byrne nurtures Annie with incandescent aura.
Hawke, after his uncanny strength as a pastor caught between faith and morality in First Reformed, exudes Crowe’s conspicuous professional demeanor besides the urge to seize the moment channeling his ruminating qualities in the same time frame during motion pictures like Reality Bites. Even O’Dowd subtly shades Duncan enough so to be less fulsome, even more empathetic notably in a dinner scene. Peretz offers an agreeable embellishment to a common refrain in relating bittersweet emotion beneath the cynical wit in what is bared like a coveted, though flawed demo CD.