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Vivian's family are penniless nomads, moving from one cheap flat to another in Beverly Hills so she and her brothers can attend the city's schools. Uncle Mickey sends them money to survive. When Mickey's daughter Rita runs away from an asylum, Vivian's dad offers shelter to her if Mickey will pay for a plush flat. Vivian must babysit her adult cousin, making sure she gets to nursing school and avoids pills and booze. But Vivian has her own problems: she's curious about sex, likes an older neighbor kid, has inherited her mother's ample breasts, and wants a family that doesn't embarrass her. Can she help Rita, keep Uncle Mickey happy, and feel OK about her body and her family?Written by
This is a Jewish movie with the missing mom being a really key component. In the scene with Viv looking at the remote figure of the mom with two daughters as they leave to go shopping -- even (or especially) this mom who says big breasts are out of date, and who has provided her daughter with a nose job -- there is clear yearning for and respect for a mother. And in the responsibilities Viv is given and which she takes pretty courageously i'd say, she is a little mother to her family. Cousin Rita Abramovitz, on the other hand, is a female disaster, and Marisa Tomei's performance is spot on. Again, not comic. Human feeling and weakness showing through veneer of sexual energy. Our culture provides for sex first. Sex sells. There's a temporary sense of power, but this is not what people are. And Tomei gets that across. She disentigrates into illness. Elliott the pot dealer is drawn with accuracy and tenderness, recalling people i knew back then and illuminating them for me. The scene that was key for me in this motion picture is the father at his restaurant(with hair on his head in a lovely flashback)dealing with his cook. The meat. Could move the setting from Beverly Hills to the LaBrea tarpits . . . watching living creatures thrash and sink in the black goo of materialism.
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