A Colourful Domestic Drama; Catherine Keener Returns to the Big Screen in an American Family Saga with a Festive Feel. Graham Young Reveals Why This Is the Perfect Christmas Treat

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 7, 2012 | Go to article overview

A Colourful Domestic Drama; Catherine Keener Returns to the Big Screen in an American Family Saga with a Festive Feel. Graham Young Reveals Why This Is the Perfect Christmas Treat


The Oranges 15, 90 minsIF Catherine Keener was a car she would be a Rolls-Royce. The Miami-born actress always glides around the screen in a manner which looks effortless.

And, like the luxury model, she never seems to want to have her pedal put to the floor.

Economy, in the engineering sense, ought to be the middle name of a star who always seems to choose her roles carefully.

Twice a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee - for Being John Malkovich (1999) and Capote (2005) - you always think there's a lot more potential beneath her now 53-year-old bonnet.

In the end, that's exactly the scenario again here.

But that doesn't stop Keener from being one of this year's pre-Christmas treats on the silver screen.

She is one of two mothers in a beautifully-filmed, well-acted domestic drama set in the run-up to Christmas.

The neighbouring Walling and Ostroff families are so close they are often in each other's houses.

As Paige Walling, Keener is married to David, played by Hugh Laurie, the Oxford-born, Cambridge graduate who is making a fine career for himself on the other side of the pond.

The pair aren't as in love as they might be even though they should be proud of daughter Vanessa (Alia Shawkat) and son Toby (Adam Brody).

Neighbours Carol and Terry are played by Allison Janney and Oliver Platt, and it's the return of their daughter which kick-starts the film.

Nina (Leighton Meester) hasn't been home for five years. And she is even threatening to get married to Ethan (Sam Rosen), of whom her mother does not approve.

Unexpectedly, she returns to her family for Thanksgiving.

And mum Carol's interfering advice that she should find a better man than Ethan soon looks as if it could seriously backfire.

Gossip Girl star Meester, 24 at the time of filming, has an engaging, youthful freshness about her.

And yet she handles some challenging scenes with a maturity which belies her years. …

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