Jennifer Jason Leigh in “Margot at the Wedding”


I’ve seen the trailer for Margot at the Wedding a few times now, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing the film (I think we all know that repeated viewings of trailers usually have the opposite effect). Yeah, yeah, Nicole Kidman is in it (what isn’t she in? Girlfriend needs to take a break.), but I’m more intrigued by the return of Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Leigh’s career has been uneven at best, but this could be a comeback (or is that breakthrough?) role for her. I’ve always kind of liked her, partly because I like it when people have complex names — I make a habit of using two as the first name, even if the middle one is supposed to go with the surname. Like Jennifer Jason, Mary Stuart, Anna Deavere and … uh, that’s all my brain can muster on a Friday.

Writer/director Noah Baumbach also brought us The Squid and the Whale, which is one of those disconcerting but somehow enchanting movies that give you hope for indie films generally. From the trailer, it looks like Margot, like Squid, focuses on the shabby clothes and tattered dreams of “ordinary people.” What’s better than laughing at your own dysfunction?

I think the last thing I saw Leigh in was The Jacket (2005), and I wasn’t terribly impressed. And then there was The Anniversary Party (2001) — I’m sure she’s trying to forget about that one just like I am. She was OK in eXistenZ (1999), but the story was better than the performances. So here’s hoping Margot at the Wedding gives her a chance to shine. Clearly it’s no Single White Female, but you can’t win ’em all.

Two other promising things: As far as I can tell, in Margo the whole point of casting Jack Black was to show that his character might not be good enough for Leigh’s character. Looks like a big step up from other similar pairings. Second, how great is this poster?

Margot at the Wedding premieres in October (limited release).

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