Based on the popular 2009 novel by Nick Hornby, Juliet, Naked pulls together three of the film world’s best actors and comedians to produce an immensely funny and very real film.
Although one could easily classify this film as a ‘rom-com’ (romantic comedy), it is really much more than that.
Set in the current day in a quaint, English seaside town, Juliet, Naked focuses on one man’s obsession with obscure American 90s indie rock star Tucker Crowe (sublimely played by Ethan Hawke) – an almost mythical figure who only ever released one highly-successful album of iconic love songs.
Duncan is the slightly nerdy but hilarious television studies’ teacher (played by the inimitable Chris O’Dowd), whose long-running obsession heavily undermines his 15-year relationship with Annie (a perfectly-cast Rose Byrne).
Indeed, Annie has become so tired of Duncan’s fixation – which includes setting up a Tucker Crowe appreciation website and holding regular internet chats with fans from around the world – that when a CD by Crowe entitled ‘Juliet, Naked: Live’ arrives in the mail for Duncan, she almost throws it out in disgust.
However, against her better judgement, she listens to it and, still fairly unimpressed, leaves an unflattering comment on Duncan’s blog about the enigmatic musician and his ‘over-rated’ CD.
Of course, Duncan is also singularly unimpressed when he finds out Annie has opened his mail – and even more so when he reads her comments on the blog.
Interestingly enough, however, when Annie listens to the CD it really does pique a sort of ‘half-hearted’ interest in the great man.
We have to remember that Crowe is highly enigmatic and has been a recluse since his last live performance in the early 90s.
This has lead to a swag of rumours not only about his whereabouts but also his looks and appearance, and whether he is still writing music.
The mystery of Crowe’s whereabouts, however, does begin to unravel when after reading Annie’s blog comment, someone purporting to be the ‘real’ Tucker Crowe replies to Annie via email.
Despite her scepticism, Annie strikes up a long-distance correspondence with the man over the email – a development that also happens to coincide with Duncan’s unwilling departure from the house – and their unfortunate breakup.
The rest of the movie is a mixture of mayhem, family upheaval and rollicking comedy as the real Tucker Crowe finally emerges from his hibernation to visit Annie in England.
Interestingly, both Crowe’s home and family life are sources of great comic confusion, as he has a number of children by different mothers, including a 10-year-old son who also travels with him to the UK.
Thus, some of the moments in this film are pure gold, especially when Duncan finally meets his idol (although he does not believe it to be him at first) saying loudly: “If you’re Tucker Crowe, then I’m Stevie Wonder!”
There is another hilarious scene when Crowe has a mild heart attack and is visited in the hospital by most of his extended family from around the world.
The spectacle (farce) includes the coming together of a wonderful mishmash of several ex-wives and at least half-a-dozen different children of all ages, leaving the wonderful Annie who witnesses all of this, totally gobsmacked!
Directed by Jesse Peretz (Our Idiot Brother), Juliet, Naked is a film not be missed and is showing exclusively at the Luna Leederville from September 6, 2018.
By Mike Peeters
Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) finally meets his idol Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke)