Guest Author - Rain Battle
"Shop Girl" is a story about choices. Claire Danes ("The Mod Squad," "Brokedown Palace") is Mirabelle, a young woman who is an aspiring artist supporting herself by working at the expensive Saks Fifth Avenue. She sells gloves and accessories. In her usual place behind the counter at work, she meets Ray (Steve Martin). Ray is a very wealthy businessman more than thirty years older than Mirabelle, but he is immediately attracted to her. He courts her discreetly and elegantly, offering her expensive gifts and lavish meals. Mirabelle is flattered but hesitant in getting to know Ray.
During the same time period, she meets Jeremy, played by Jason Schwartzman ("Slackers," "Bewitched"). Jeremy is irresponsible, immature, and completely adorable. As a wannabe musician and artist (among other things) Jeremy doesn't have steady employment and therefore, not much money. He doesn't buy Mirabelle expensive gifts or even treat her on their dates, but he truly likes her for who she is. He is sincere and sweet, but definitely not as worldly as Ray.
When Mirabelle decides to accept some of Ray's advances, she realizes that he is not necessarily interested in actually dating her. Ray is simply interested in having Mirabelle as an occasional companion. He appreciates her physical beauty and her poise, and her ability to have an intelligent conversation. In fact, Ray cringes away from the idea of having a serious relationship which confuses and frustrates Mirabelle.
Although Mirabelle is obviously trying to decide which potential involvement would be best for her, this movie is not about a traditional love triangle. Ray and Jeremy aren't really competing, and Mirabelle is more torn between the path her own life has taken than over which man to date. Deciding what to do with her life affects her decision over which man means more to her, and watching her decide is both fascinating and a little sad.
"Shop Girl" is the adaptation of Steve Martin's popular novella. Known for being a hilarious funnyman, Martin was calm and collected in his role as the self-contained Ray. Schwartzman was great as insecure Jeremy, and Claire Danes was perfectly cast as the confused Mirabelle. The soundtrack for this film was also great, making the film a really wonderful experience.