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I’ve walked ‘In Her Shoes’

December 18, 2011
By KATHRYN SPIRA , For The Leader Herald

Herman and I recently watched a feature film on the Lifetime TV channel originally released in theaters in 2005. Since Lifetime channel tends to show what Herman calls "chick flicks," he wasn't going to watch it with me but was drawn in by the unexpected plot twists that take place in the film.

According to Wkikpedia:

"'In Her Shoes' is a 2005 American comedy-drama film based on the novel of the same name by Jennifer Weiner. It is directed by Curtis Hanson with an adapted screenplay by Susannah Grant and stars Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, and Shirley MacLaine. The film focuses on the relationship between two sisters and their grandmother."

Basically, in the picture there is a conflict between two sisters - one a party girl and the other a responsible lawyer who winds up helping protect and take care of her ne-er do well younger sister. Both sisters have life-altering changes when a long-lost grandmother is found, the younger sister becomes responsible and the older sister quits her attorney position and finds joy in the simplicity of dog walking.

Since I was a bit of a wild child and my older sister became more of a married, stable, responsible fundraiser for doctors groups, I could see some parallels between the characters in the movie and my own relationship with my sister. Some of those parallels still exist today. My sister is still very stable and successful, while I am still a bit of a (hopefully lovable) loose canon. Diaz's character even wanted to go to New York City to study acting, which I, in fact, did.

A twist in the movie that doesn't have a parallel in my own relationship with my sister is that of the long-lost grandparent played by Shirley MacLaine, for which she won a Golden Globe award for best supporting actress in 2005. Another major plot incident that has no parallel with us is the younger sister stealing the older sister's boyfriend. I had plenty of my own boyfriends and my sister had a very different type of boyfriend she went out with.

As aspiring actors, I remember both Julia Roberts and I used to say we should have matching T-shirts with something like, "No job? Addicted? No ambition? Sign up here, I'm your gal!" My sister was much more careful to pick properly educated and ambitious possible partners, and in fact married a very nice clinical psychologist with a very successful business.

It's nice to be surprised by what looks to be a predictable plot and then take unexpected turns and wind up a very different movie. Let's face it, all our lives tend to turn out differently than we ever expected.

If you get a chance to rent or Netflix this film, I highly recommend it.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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