If I Were You: The unlikeliest of friendships
A crumbling marriage can sometimes consist of a third party – the mistress; a mere play thing for the husband and unknown to the wife. If the ladies were to ever meet, a friend is the last thing they would be. Well friends are what they become in director Joan Carr-Wiggin’s comedy about a Mrs and the mistress.
Middle aged business woman Madelyn discovers that her husband has been playing away with aspiring actress and class A bimbo Lucy (Leonor Watling), who claims that she is incapable of going two days without sex and only has her job in a television advert because of her ‘baps’.
The distraught wife follows the young woman to her apartment with suspicions of a suicide attempt. Just as Lucy places a noose around her neck, Madelyn talks her out of it, which is strangely selfless given the circumstance. Instead, the two women bond and form a pact to each make the other’s decisions regarding their relationships, little does Lucy know, to the same man.
Various moments of humour are sprinkled generously throughout the film. One scene to recall is an audition that Madelyn and Lucy attend for the Shakespearean play, King Lear. Madelyn breaks down on the phone to husband Paul in the middle of the auditions causing her to unintentionally be cast as the lead role.
Academy award winner Marcia Gay Harden gives a priceless performance as Madelyn. Her versatility shines through when she takes on the role of King Lear (the first time a woman has performed the role on film) in the amateur production of the Shakespeare play that takes place in the film with Lucy starring as the fool. Never has a role been more apt. Like the protagonist in this tragedy, she struggles with matters of loyalty, betrayal and love. The theatre in the film is Toronto’s Alumnae Theatre. The Alumnae Dramatic club was formed in 1919 by female graduates of the University of Toronto who were not allowed to participate in the University’s male-only alumnae theatre productions, making the Alumnae a symbolic place to film the first woman playing Lear in a film.
One shortcoming to highlight is the lack of character development of Madelyn’s mother who suffers from dementia. All that is shared about her is her love for ice cream. She later succumbs to the disease and even at the funeral little is mentioned of her. All in all, If I Were You is packed with laughs, theatre and whiskey!
If I Were You is released in select cinemas on 2nd March 2012.
Watch the trailer for If I Were You here: