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, first grade teacher George Hanson (Paul Rudd, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), despite the fact that he is openly gay.

Reaction & Thoughts:

The Object of My Affection is one of the most interesting rom-coms 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’s a valid, interesting new twist to the conventional romantic formula, very much in touch with today’s new-found tolerance for different lifestyles.

The Object of My Affection is also one of the first mainstream films that treated the subject of homosexuality in a respectful manner, without ever resorting to obvious stereotypes. Traditional-minded 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 I’m sure most viewers will find this frankness completely refreshing.

I did have issues with the film’s offbeat narrative. Directed by Nicholas Hytner (The Crucible) from a script by Wendy Wasserstein based on the novel by Stephen McCauley, The Object of My Affection 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, Jennifer Aniston is so good (both in her dramatic and funny scenes) that she makes it all worthwhile — Aniston is a beautiful woman as well as a completely natural performer.

In fact, the film is, to this very date, the only movie that 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. Paul Rudd, in one of his first leading roles, is good too — it’s still one of his best performances.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

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 (Amistad), and Tim Daly (The Outsider). Color, 114 minutes, Rated R.

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