If you hated those ya-yas and their divine secrets as much as I did, try Lovely and Amazing. In this painfully funny and touching look at the vanities and insecurities that a mother (Brenda Blethyn) can pass on to her daughters in the name of love, writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Walking and Talking) does a chick flick right. Catherine Keener sparks the film as the eldest daughter, easing her dead-end marriage by screwing a teenager (Jake Gyllenhaal). The luminous Emily Mortimer plays the actress daughter who beds a TV stud (Dermot Mulroney) and then asks him to bluntly critique her naked body, which he does in a horrifically comic scene. The third daughter (Raven Goodwin), adopted, is a troubled, overweight eight-year-old black girl who leans on her sisters when her mother worsens after a liposuction operation. Holofcener's film feels untidily honest. It's true to life, not to the Hollywood version.
From The Archives Issue 901: July 25, 2002