Monday, November 06, 2006

Friends And Money

Money is coming out of the closet.

Last week, I watched Nicole Holfcener's very fine 2006 film, "Friends With Money," starring a quartet of wonderfully gifted actresses playing friends with vastly differing fortunes. More than holding her own with Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack and Catherine Keener, Jennifer Aniston is particularly poignant as the hapless Olivia, a pot addict and housekeeper who can't stop lusting after the married man who broke up with her and who keeps herself in face cream by begging samples off of hostile cosmetic counter clerks. Olivia is a character who is likely to make you feel very, very together. Watch her face when her new sex buddy, played in a charismatically loathsome manner by Scott Caan, informs her that since "he helped" clean the house, she should give him a cut of her pay.

Frances McDormand plays a perimenopausal designer who is so tired of people-pleasing that she stops washing her hair and starts mouthing off whenever and wherever she gets the slightest bit irritated, which is all the time. She's a memorable, terrific character, and you'll love Simon McBurney as her extremely gay, very touching and devoted husband.

After having seen the film, I read this article in New York magazine by David Amsden, also about how friends negotiate the terrain of money, or not:

It's about a group of friends who also have widely discrepant financial realities, and is worth a read. It made me consider how money plays into my friendships, and how big a factor solvency or insolvency has been in my dating life.

My family and I have decided not to exchange presents this holiday season, and while I know I'll miss having that big box to open on Christmas morning while I'm alone and drinking a bottle of bubbly -- exhausted after doing two Christmas Eve worship services -- I will most definitely not miss the hysteria of shopping, shopping, shopping, packing, packing, packing and spending, spending, spending.


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