Movie Review: Carrie Pilby (2016)

Carrie Pilby (2016) - IMDb

Title: Carrie Pilby

Director: Susan Johnson

Actor(s): Bel Powley, Nathan Lane

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Runtime: 1 hour 38 minutes

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes


Carrie Pilby is based on a novel that I have on my Kindle and I want to read, but I decided to make an exception to my usual rule and watch the movie first. The titular character (Bel Powley) is a misanthropic prodigy who sees a therapist (Nathan Lane) but refuses to do the activities he assigns for her.

She’s bitter and lonely and can’t seem to understand why people usually avoid her even though she makes it clear she thinks she’s smarter than everyone else. Haunted by an abusive relationship with her former college professor (Colin O’Donoghue,) she decides to try to get outside her comfort zone a little bit and is shocked when she starts to live a life that she may be able to enjoy rather than just endure.

So, I enjoyed this movie but it took me a while to warm up to it. Carrie isn’t exactly the most likable character in the world and I couldn’t figure out what men saw in her. She reminded me a little bit of Eleanor in the novel Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman but I found that character to be more endearing.

I did start to like Carrie a little more towards the end but for the majority of the movie she was a total pill and everything that came of out her mouth was snarky and reeked of superiority. It was so obviously a front but I still found it frustrating. On the other hand I do think literature and films need more deeply flawed female protagonists and Carrie was a well-developed character.

I liked that it had romance in it, but the focus wasn’t all about Carrie finding someone. Her strained relationship with her dad (Gabriel Byrne) was touching and felt authentic, and the film ended on a satisfying and hopeful note. I also always enjoy seeing Nathan Lane and his character (and his eventual admittance of his own faults) added extra pathos to a movie full of interesting relationships.

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