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06 Nov 2018

Home Video Review: Ethan Hawke Is Perfectly Cast as an Indie-Rock Star in 'Juliet, Naked'

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Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne and Chris O'Dowd in Juliet, Naked. Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne and Chris O'Dowd in Juliet, Naked.

The title of this film, Juliet, Naked, is a nod to The Beatles’ release of Let It Be … Naked, a stripped-down version of that album. In this movie, Juliet, Naked is a demo version of an album recorded by a fictional indie-rock star, Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke).

I can’t think of a more appropriate role for Hawke at this point in his career. Over the last couple of decades, he’s grown into one of the best actors on the planet. He had promise in the first act of his career, but he was a little annoying, self-important and boring … like the younger version of Tucker Crowe. But he’s older now, and so is his character in this movie, a reclusive star who retreated into obscurity after a bad breakup. That part isn’t autobiographical—Hawke has been pretty active throughout—but there are fun parallels between Hawke and Tucker Crowe.

Rose Byrne plays Annie, the girlfriend of mega-Crowe fan Duncan (Chris O’Dowd). When a demo of Crowe’s album winds up in their home, it receives opposing reviews from the two on the Internet—with Annie’s being far more critical. Crowe responds to her review, and the two strike up a kinship that’s far more plausible than it seems on paper.

The three stars are great, especially Hawke. One of the funniest things about the movie is Byrne trying to obscure her pregnancy during filming—a lot of travel bags obscure her baby bump). It’s like that season of Seinfeld when Julia Louis-Dreyfus was pregnant.

The movie is adapted from a novel by Nick Hornby, which is no surprise—because it is insightful, witty and entertaining.

Juliet, Naked is available via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com; it will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Nov. 13.

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