The Object of My Affection (1998)

The Object of My Affection (1998)Synopsis:

Jennifer Aniston (Horrible Bosses) plays Nina, a social worker who falls in love with her roommate (Paul Rudd, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), despite the fact that he is openly gay.

Reaction & Thoughts:

The Object of My Affection, written by Wendy Wasserstein, based on the novel by Stephen McCauley, and directed by Nicholas Hytner (The Madness of King George), is one of the most interesting romantic comedies from the past few years, in which the main characters are set apart not by money, social status, or the interference of a third-party, but by different sexual preferences. It is a valid, interesting new twist to the conventional romantic formula, very much in touch with today’s new-found tolerance for different life styles.

The Object of My Affection is also one of the few mainstream films that treats the subject of homosexuality in a respectful manner, without ever resorting to obvious stereotypes. Many “old-fashioned” viewers are destined to have some problems with the way the film doesn’t shy away from accurately presenting the dynamics of gay couples, but more tolerant people will find this frankness completely refreshing.

The film is, to this very date, the only movie than has taken full advantage of Aniston’s range as an actress. As the young woman who falls in love with her best friend, she simply glows right before your eyes. The Object of My Affection should have made her a bona fide movie star, but unfortunately for Aniston, the movie was completely ignored by moviegoers during its first theatrical run, despite very good reviews by most critics.

Many have blamed the offbeat subject matter for the film’s failure at the box office, but I have a hunch that the real culprit is the way in which the story was constructed. The movie puts itself in a corner by forcing people to accept a romantic possibility that everyone knows is unworkable, depriving the ending from any real surprises — it is clear from the very beginning how this film is going to end. Despite this obvious problem in the narrative, Aniston is so good (both in her dramatic and funny scenes) that she makes it all worthwhile — she is a beautiful woman as well as a completely natural performer. Rudd, in one of his first leading roles, is good too.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Like almost everyone else, I somehow missed the chance to see The Object of My Affection during its original theatrical run. Too bad, because this film is one of the most honest romantic comedies of the 1990s. If you feel like trying something new, this is definitely the film for you. With Alan Alda (The Aviator), Nigel Hawthorne (The Madness of King George), and Tim Daly (The Outsider). Color, 114 minutes, Rated R.

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