My One and Only (review)

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George Hamilton? He’s the punchline with the orange tan, right? Turns out he had a crazy wacky wonderful infuriating sort of teenhood at the hands of his nutty mother (Renee Zellweger: Monsters vs. Aliens) who took off from a comfy life in 1950s New York when her philandering husband (Kevin Bacon: Frost/Nixon) cheated one time too many and hit the road with her two sons, George (Logan Lerman: Gamer) and Robbie (Mark Rendall: 30 Days of Night), for who knows where. Bubbly and beautiful, Mom’s got old friends and former beaus in every town straight through to L.A., it seems, so there’s always someone to drop in on for a month or two, and maybe a new husband in the offing, because god knows she’s useless for any kind of work. What could have been a maddening portrait of spoiled self-entitlement is, instead, a plucky tale about how tough life could be a woman like Anne Deveraux — even if the observation that “the world makes exceptions for beautiful women” isn’t entirely wrong, either — half a century ago, when independence was so looked down upon that it was something of a breakthrough for a woman to even realize it was an option; Zellweger creates a nice portrait of chin-keeping-up-erness combined with encroaching self-awareness. And though the film is based on Hamilton’s life and is told from his perspective — Lerman is a brilliant young talent — the movie really is Anne’s. Hooray for a story about a woman that doesn’t deny her fundamental motherhood while also letting her be her own person. That it’s also simply a sweet, funny, broadminded movie is a welcome bonus.

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