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20 Apr. 2017

UNFORGETTABLE, feline force in full effect


Far from your ideal love relationship, UNFORGETTABLE, the new film starring Rosario Dawson (TOP FIVE), Katherine Heigl (KNOCKED UP) Geoff Stutts (TV’s “The Odd Couple”) and Cheryl Ladd (of the iconic “Charlie’s Angels” TV series) is a two-legged cat fight.

What happens when two zesty women fight over the affections of an obtuse man? Well, they are certainly no angels.

David (Stutts) and Tessa (Heigl), once the picture perfect couple, are divorced. David has moved on. In so doing, now, he deeply loves Julia (Dawson) and she him. They decide to move in together into his hillside family home, taking Julia away from her job and friends in the city. Sharing custody of his daughter has caused an even bigger strain on this new relationship, ripe with the dynamics of in-law intrusion and a former violent life that Julia has not shared with David. Tessa is hell bent on breaking up David’s relationship with Julia and will stop at nothing to exact revenge, including their young daughter.

Part love story, part horror, part mystery—the sum total is entertaining and will hold your interest even if you think you know the outcome. The surprise conclusion makes UNFORGETTABLE just that. Directed by acclaimed film producer Denise Di Novi (“Focus,” “Crazy Stupid Love,” “Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants,” “What A Girl Wants,” “Batman Returns”), her foray into directing gives us a recognizable premise full of subtexts often avoided in storytelling—feminine nuance. There are back stories to Tessa and Julia perhaps more compelling than what meets the eye.

During a press conference in Los Angeles to discuss the film, Di Novi said her goal was to show the complexities between first wives and second wives. She also shared that she wanted the story to be driven more by a psychological construct rather than stereotypical sex and nudity. “I think a woman can be just as sexy with her clothes on,” she opined. “The themes in the movie really spoke to me about a lot of female conditioning in our culture; kind of this tyranny of perfectionism where we feel like we have to be perfect and do everything right, and we can’t share our weaknesses. It was a classic thriller and I’ve always been a fan of this genre.”

Stutts supported Di Novi’s perspective saying,” If you think about it, [having a female director] is a very different perspective than if it would have been a dude behind the camera [for the sex scenes]. There’s nothing gratuitous about them and they served a purpose. I shouldn’t disparage a male director, but I think with Denise there everything that we did with any intimacy or sexiness was done for a very specific reason. There was so much care and thought that went into each scene.”

Dawson, too, said the motivation for her was the opportunity to work opposite a strong female cast in a multi-faceted story arc. “I like that we show these women who appear to be perfect but are not. They strive for perfection. This film looks at the destruction anger can wreck upon a family; it shows ‘being upset’ not handled well. We see a full spectrum of what it’s like to be passionate and hold a position. There is a full range of emotion.”

The leading ladies went on to describe the approach to their respective roles thusly, “I like to start with the hair,” Katherine Heigl stated. Presenting a lovely combination of haute couture and humor, she said, “The character’s wardrobe, hair, makeup, shoes and so forth set the tone for the way Tessa holds herself. Her personality and the way she expresses herself is a reflection of the life she leads. While she was raised to be perfect in all things, I felt sorry for this character because she is in huge denial suppressing her true reality.” Dawson says Julia has much to overcome. “Her father was an alcoholic, her previous relationship, damaging yet she is a survivor.”

Ladd as Helen, the mother from another era, was more than a notion. Ladd says of her character, “I felt this character came from a long line of perfectionist women and that expectations were very high, and emotions were really kept low and stuffed. I think that she thinks she’s the greatest mother on the planet because she loves her daughter, but that constant demand for perfection and her inability to hide her disappointment just crushes Tessa. I have no sense that I’m hurting her. I think I’m trying to help her because that’s what you do, you help your daughter and I want her to be happy.”

About the author

Sandra Varner has had her hands on the pulse of the entertainment industry and lifestyles coverage for decades, staying current, always.

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