It’s an easy and enjoyable watch...
BEST SELLERS (2021)
Michael Caine’s career choices as of late have been pretty hit-or-miss, and he must truly love working to be pumping out so many films at nearly 90 years old. He is undoubtedly a legend, so I will give any Michael Caine vehicle a shot, no questions asked. I have been absolutely charmed by Aubrey Plaza since her days on Parks and Recreation, so when I saw she was Caine’s co-star, that pretty much sealed the deal.
Lina Roessler has a background in acting and this was her first take as director of a feature film. Overall, I don’t have much to gripe about. The film juggles lighthearted moments with some that are much more somber, and Roessler handles that balance quite well. The movie is well-paced and feels quite cozy - like a crisp Autumn day.
Desperate to keep her father’s struggling publishing company afloat, Lucy Stanbridge (Plaza) seeks out a cranky and reclusive one-book-wonder Harris Shaw (Caine) in hopes that he has one more hit under his belt. The two embark on a low budget book tour where both their patience wears thin. Eventually, they form a unique friendship that defies the odds.
Is it anything I haven’t seen a hundred times before? Nah. Not really. And there are some stark tonal shifts that nearly left me with whiplash. Nonetheless, I found the story oddly beguiling and I was moved to tears at one point (most movies move me to tears, so, take that for what it’s worth.) Overall, I thought the story was quite sweet, but very predictable.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Both Caine and Plaza brought their A-game. Caine’s professional era of playing a crotchety old man was inevitable, I suppose, and he truly plays the part in a funny and charming way. Plaza is her usual, sharp-witted self and this role gives her the opportunity to show her emotional range. Her assistant Rachel, played by Ellen Wong, was about the cutest thing I have ever seen and I hope to see her in so much more. Last but not least is a small but memorable role - book critic Halpren Nolan - played by Cary Elwes. It’s a character that made me laugh out loud... if only for the unbearable cringe factor.
The dialogue, much like the plot, was predictable and a bit maudlin at times. Overall, it matched the tone of the sappy comedy-drama, and it didn’t feel too offbase to me.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The aesthetic of this film is quite relaxing, almost as if the entire thing had been shot using an instagram filter. It is a relatively low-budget indie, so there isn’t much that blew me away in this arena. The movie is really more dialogue and character-focused.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
I actually quite like the soundtrack to this film. There are a couple inclusions of rock music that work well with their corresponding scenes and I felt the music choices helped supplement the story nicely.
A cozy Sunday afternoon watch, Best Sellers is sweet, sappy and predictable. It’s an easy and enjoyable watch - just don’t go into it with overly-high expectations and I think you will enjoy it.