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Rose Byrne in Juliet, Naked.

Alex Bailey/Courtesy of Elevation

  • Juliet, Naked
  • Written by: Tamara Jenkins, Jim Taylor, Evgenia Peretz (based on Nick Hornby’s novel, Juliet, Naked)
  • Directed by: Jesse Peretz
  • Starring: Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Chris O’Dowd
  • Classification: 14A/ 105 minutes

rating

There’s no nudity in Juliet, Naked, so get your mind out of the gutter and into Nick Hornby’s indie-music, trans-Atlantic spin on You’ve Got Mail.

Based on the British author’s 2009 novel of the same name, Juliet, Naked wins on the strength of its three entangled characters: Rose Byrne is Annie, a wistful, unfulfilled girlfriend of Duncan, whom she lives with in seaside England; Chris O’Dowd is Duncan, a prickly film studies teacher and annoyingly obsessed fan of an obscure American singer-songwriter (Tucker Crowe) who mysteriously disappeared years ago; and Ethan Hawke (who’s morphing into a smaller Nick Nolte right before our eyes) is Tucker Crowe, a greying and potbellied lost soul who strikes up an online relationship with Annie.

All three stars are more than capable, with Hawke especially at his sheepishly magnetic best as a lapsed musician and the mostly uninterested father to his children by different mothers. Crowe and Annie hit it off in this story about the fear of responsibility and the regret that comes with past chances not taken. Open-hearted and sure to resonate with more than a few viewers, Juliet, Naked roms and coms in the most charmingly honest ways.