Starring: Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Chris O’Dowd
Director: Jesse Peretz
Running Time: 105 mins
Juliet, Naked is an American film about a woman who unexpectedly falls in love with the washed-up singer-songwriter who her ex-boyfriend was an obsessive fan of for years.
On the outside, Juliet, Naked seems like a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, and for at least the first half, it is. However, with a unique approach to romance that focuses more on characters than a generic love story, the film really finds its voice in its second half, proving both a funny and touching watch.
First off, let’s talk about the film’s opening stages, which are admittedly rather weak. Despite Rose Byrne giving yet another delightful rom-com performance, her chemistry with live-in boyfriend Chris O’Dowd just doesn’t seem all there, even when they’re meant to be a couple on the rocks.
Simply put, the film doesn’t really get moving into its main story quickly enough, and as such proves a little frustrating in the first half as you watch two people’s relationship fall to pieces.
However, things really start to improve when the story’s focus shifts from the rocky relationship between Byrne and O’Dowd to the unexpected bond between Byrne and Ethan Hawke, who plays the washed-up singer of whom Byrne’s boyfriend was a big fan.
As well as Byrne and Hawke just ‘clicking’ a little better, Hawke’s character is simply a lot more interesting, offering an interesting perspective on life after fame, and a man still trying to do the best for himself and his family even when everything seems to have gone wrong in the past.
Coupled with some pleasant, albeit not necessarily hilarious, comedy, the film turns into a genuinely enjoyable romantic comedy, and it’s a joy to watch Byrne and Hawke’s relationship unfold in what feels like a far more genuine story than the earlier stages of the film.
Overall, I enjoyed Juliet, Naked. It’s not a perfect film all the way through, and really struggles to find its feet in the opening stages, but manages to deliver a genuinely enjoyable and touching romantic story later on, with lovely performances from Rose Byrne and Ethan Hawke the cherry on top of the cake. So, that’s why I’m giving the film a 7.3.