My Thoughts On… The Oranges

Just a quick reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, it may be best to move on!

Synopsis

The enduring friendship between the Walling and Ostroff families is tested when Nina, the prodigal Ostroff daughter, returns home for the holidays after a five-year absence and enters into an affair with David, head of the Walling family. (via IMDb)

What I Liked

  • I have to confess that I watched this film for one reason; it stars Hugh Laurie. OK, two reasons: his character has an affair with a younger woman, played by Leighton Meester. In case you’re not aware, I’m a) a bit obsessed with Hugh Laurie, and b) a bit of a fan of the May-December love story. As I think Hugh is fabulous, I am maybe a bit biased, but I think he puts in a great performance here.
  • Allison Janney is a hero of mine. She’s stunning, stylish, and she’s a fabulous actor. She’s a bit of a character actor; she pops up in things all the time, but she’s nearly always the mum of a character, rather than the main character. That’s the case here too, although this is much more of an ensemble cast, rather than one main star. She plays the mother of Leighton Meester’s character, and her horror when she realises that her daughter is sleeping with her neighbour (who is also her husband’s best friend and best friend’s husband) is quite fantastic.
  • Oliver Platt (along with Allison Janney, another The West Wing alumni), is another actor I enjoy; his comic timing is great. His performance is another bright spot, as is Alia Shawkat’s, who plays the marginalised daughter of Hugh Laurie’s David. In fact, all of the performances in the film are pretty on the money. They are all very capable actors, and they manage to portray the awkwardness at the almost incestuous relationship between David and Nina perfectly.
  • It’s no secret that I prefer my comedy to be a bit more subtle than the broad strokes that, for example, Anchorman, is painted in. The humour here is quite dark, but it is genuinely funny in places.

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What I Didn’t Like

  • I have been waiting to watch this film for a while; as soon as found out that Hugh Laurie was in it, I wanted to see it. I did enjoy it, but I was hoping for more. I found it a bit hit and miss, in all honesty.
  • As much as I love Allison Janney (and I really, really do), I feel as though she was done a bit of a disservice here. She plays meddling mother so well, but isn’t that just a bit of a cliché? It’s no wonder that her daughter Nina escapes halfway across the country and only reluctantly comes home after her fiancé cheats on her.

All in all, I didn’t hate The Oranges, but I didn’t love it either. It’s might be worth a watch if, like me, you love any of the actors in it, but otherwise, it’s probably not worth it.

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