- I can't forget that first half, where 2 human beings, unencumbered by any expectation other than their own need for connection, follow none of the formulas but love on its own terms. 10/20/2001 12:00:00 AM by jdesando
May to December can be the cruelest months if they're about a relationship between a young woman and an older man. `American Beauty' and more recently `Ghost World' carried the usual criticism of this socially questionable alliance, from downright damage in the former to uncertainty about how it could ever work in the latter.
In `My First Mister,' starring Albert Brooks and Leelee Sobieski, the union works so beautifully in the first half of the film I thought even I could try it. Director Christine Lahti, who won an Oscar for best short film, "Lieberman in Love," concentrates on the flowering friendship between a Goth girl who needs a friend and a job and a 49 year-old haberdasher who has jettisoned everyone in order to live out his life painlessly for everyone.
Jill Franklyn, who wrote the "Yada Yada" episode of "Seinfeld," pens perfect lines for the understated Brooks, such as when he first sees Sobieski: "Scram. Shoo. Why don't you go get your eyeballs pierced?" and another time when he says, "I want the smallest tattoo you have. Can you give me a dot, or a period?"
Director Lahti shows her originality by letting us painfully and slowly watch a purple-haired Sobieski pull out her nose and face rings. This film is the best I have ever seen to give respect to a much-maligned paring in movies. The 17-year-old punker helps him awaken to life's interesting couplings like cavorting mannequins, and he shows her love unalloyed. When the time comes for sex, as it always does in Hollywood, no one cares, even the audience, because the point is the friendship.
In the second half of the film Lahti lets go of her originality to indulge the genre with the usual fatal twist, easy reconciliation of family, and renewal for Sobieski found in a most unbelievable coincidence. Yet I can't forget that first half, where 2 human beings, unencumbered by any expectation other than their own need for connection, follow none of the formulas but love on its own terms.
- Relationships are what matter most 1/28/2004 12:00:00 AM by rj-27
When deliberating why one story will resonate within oneself over another, you have to be honest about your own perspective on the things that are truly important in life, and those things that are tossed out with the garbage.
While the relationship between J and R is hinted at being more than merely platonic, it is only implied. The far greater impact lies in the strength of two disparate individuals finding self-worth and importance in the existence of another who finds them attractive to be with.
An older man will always find flattering the attention of an attractive (much) younger female, even if he cannot relate to her point of view on life. It helps that J is written in as witty and intelligent vs. say, something from out of "Clueless".
It is somewhat less believable that a Gothic teenager would find an overweight, past middle-aged man attractive - except that the reason J finds R attractive has less to do with appearance and everything to do with the level of trust and respect he shows her after some initial verbal sparring, that really is quite believable. He affords her something that she simply is not expecting. You can imagine this happening.
Being accepted as you are and for who you are is the basis for all honest and lasting relationships. On this point the movie scores a bullseye.
LeeLee Sobieski is a real talent. Yes, she does look like Helen Hunt, but that is where the similarity ends.
Albert Brooks has always had a manner of delivering his lines as though he is making an appeal to his listener's better sense. He is a much under-appreciated comedic talent.
A high recommendation for "My First Mister".
- Sweet movie - BAD title!! 4/3/2005 12:00:00 AM by callaway76
This movie is very cool if you like alternative, angst ridden teenagers trying to do good. The title is awfully deceptive because there is nothing illegitimate about the "older guy - younger girl" relationship at all - here's a short synopsis: Alternative goth chick meets conservative store manager. Neither of them have a life outside of work so they slowly learn to hang out together. The rest kind of falls into place as they see how "the other half" lives, and make each other better people. Great movie to watch with your parents (no drugs or sex) and sweet for an pick-me-up kind of movie. The soundtrack is cool too - it has the great older tunes like Sinatra and such - along with some Marilyn Manson and then some reggae as well.
- A Little Gem, With an Awful and Vulgar Title 9/8/2006 12:00:00 AM by claudio_carvalho
Jennifer Benson (Leelee Sobieski) is a seventeen years old misfit punk teenager that uses piercing, tattoos, wears only black clothes and dyed hair, self-inflicts injures and has fixation for death. She misses a father and a normal mother, since Mrs. Benson (Carol Kane) has trouble in the communication with her, and feels absolutely rejected. While looking for a job, she meets the forty-nine years old Randall Harris (Albert Brooks), a lonely man who owns a shopping store, and he hires her. They are opposites but with loneliness and lack of friends in common. They become close friends, and their interaction changes their behavior for good while secrets and feelings are disclosed.
This is the second work of the excellent underrated actress Christine Lahti as director that I see (the other one is the short "Lieberman in Love"), and also a surprisingly great movie. The original and the Brazilian titles are simply awful and vulgar, and do not mirror this sensitive story of loneliness and friendship. Leelee Sobieski has another great performance in the role of a disturbed and rebellious teenager, needy of love and care, who changes her behavior when she meets her soul-mate friend in a middle-age man. I am not fan of Albert Brooks, but he is great performing Randall Harris, the man who touches Jennifer in the heart. In the end, a toast to all special "F" words: to friends, family, fate, forgiveness and forever. Wonderful and touching! My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Meu Primeiro Homem" ("My First Man")
- She-he, Spring-Autumn, cry-laugh 4/24/2002 12:00:00 AM by =G=
A feel good weeper comedy/light-drama, "My First Mister" tells of the coming of age of a teenaged pin cushion goth female (Sobrieski) who's into self mutilation and talking to dead people and her platonic love affair with a middle aged conservative and phobic man (Brooks). In this flick about strange bedfellows and a Spring/Autumn relationship, Lahti turns the lens on the female character illuminating many of the insecurities which beset and befuddle teen females and proves once again on celluloid that love conquers all. As the film wears on it plateaus and becomes somewhat muddled by unnecessary quirky characters and an side plot about Brook's past in an apparent attempt to jerk the last tear and keep feel good moments coming. Nonetheless, rising star Sobrieski proves to be a capable and durable centerpiece for a film worth watching front to back.