A thoroughly enjoyable and quite thought-provoking road movie, as the indomitable Ann Devereaux (Zellweger) blazes a trail across the States of the '50s, accompanied only by her two teenage sons and a gorgeous 1953 Cadillac Eldorado. This is Zellweger in fine form (when is she not?) playing a character who comes over as a combination of Blanche Dubois and Bridget Jones - work that one out! She survives rejection, humiliation and a tendency to leave her worldly goods unattended in any restaurant, car glovebox or other easy target for the ne'er do wells she attracts throughout the trip. The story is based on the early life of the actor George Hamilton, played beautifully by Logan Lerman, whose first steps on the journey to his American dream in Hollywood are warmly and wryly depicted.
Though it is clearly Georg's story, it's the character of Ann, where Zellweger's genius for light comedy and bruised vulnerability (so reminiscent of early Shirley Maclaine) comes to the fore. The story weaves in the characters around her, and their journeys,, which make this a fine ensemble piece, with (amongst many), Mark Rendall as George's elder, star struck and obviously gay brother, Molly Quinn as George's Pittsburgh neighbour and kindred spirit Paula, and above all Kevin Bacon, whose cameo as Ann's errant roguish husband Danny makes me wish that he and Zellweger were in more films together than just this one.
In some ways "My One And Only" is a real throwback to old-fashioned filmmaking. It's a story that deliberately takes its own sweet time to unfold - characters make big mistakes, recover begrudgingly, then grow some and move on. It's about a family that's close-knit but also in turmoil - and all of this is set against a backdrop of beautiful Fifties American small town/big city scenery and socially changing times...
Renee Zellweger plays Anne Devereaux - a glamorous New York mum who decides to leave her feckless bandleader husband George after she catches him at home with one too many of his on-the-road affairs (a hugely likeable and capable Kevin Bacon). Besides - the royalties to his National hit "My One And Only" have begun to wither - and so with wildly out-of-place optimism - Anne cheerfully bundles her two teenage sons (superb casting of Logan Lerman and Mark Rendall) into her ludicrously flashy Coupe De Ville car (which she's just paid $2,500 for) and hits the road for Pittsburgh - and eventually - the bigger glam of Hollywood. But of course along the way, Anne only manages to flit from one relationship disaster to another - with just her beauty, class and innate belief in herself keeping her head above water and her restless kids out of poverty (and even jail).
One of the men she meets and woos is Chris Noth who plays a nice-at-first army-man who is lonely and quickly smitten. But as the relationship unfolds, Harlan increasingly becomes Mister Rules and Regulations - eventually turning into a very nasty piece of work indeed. It's a real departure for Noth from his Mr. Big character in Sex & The City, but man is he good at it (dialogue above).
But the film firmly belongs to Zellweger who is absolutely superlative throughout in a way she hasn't been for a long time - ably assisted by a talented supporting cast who are given material that makes everyone shine. Zellweger gives her Anne a beating heart - fun one moment - destroyed the next - digging down deep to find that inner strength to go on. You root for her - bleed for her - and eventually smile at her sheer American tenacity. This movie sees Renee as a great actress rather than just a good one.
"My One And Only" is a proper journey movie - and because it's steeped in Fifties period architecture and clothing - it looks utterly fantastic on BLU RAY. Scene after scene is filled with that old-world grit, glamour and gorgeous detail. And on it goes to a surprising twist at the end that you genuinely don't see coming. The BLU RAY also features a very informative "Making Of" and staggeringly candid remarks in the "Cast & Crew Interviews" (Richard Loncraine the Director and Charlie Peters the Writer) as well as contributions from the army of people who brought the Fifties stuff so evocatively to life.
A bit of a 2011 sleeper on the rental and purchase market, I liked "My One And Only" a great deal and bought it to own. I'd say give this little gem a chance - I suspect you'll be more than pleasantly surprised.
PS: it's only available on BLU RAY in the 'UK' at present - Stateside is DVD only
I just saw this on a copy i borrowed from the local library and loved it so much I decided to check out amazon with a view to adding it to my own collection. I'm amazed to see that at time of writing it's available at such a low price and that it has thus far garnered only one review (albeit a glowing one) - suggesting I suppose that it's probably a bit of a commercial mediocrity here in the UK. If so, how unjust! This is a beautifully made, very funny little mainstream American comedy. And a total charmer.
I won't go over the ground already ably covered by the preceding reviewer. Suffice to say that I urge others not to be fooled by any negative appearances in the local marketplace. Renee Z is a fine actress who, regrettably, I've seen appear in quite a few indifferent films. This is not one of those. It's not just another slick box-office exercise in concocting plastic, retro-chic Romantic comedy. Nor is it yet one more dumb-ass, pseudo-cool, ironic take on 50s Americana. This is a genuinely witty, wry, affectionate look back through the lens of classic Hollywood cinema which succeeds in recapturing the sense of heart that the best of that old stuff had - without sentimentality.
The performances are uniformly excellent and it looks an absolute treat. I would suggest that it contains more than one or two genuinely authentic, wonderful cinematic moments of its own. In short, first class mainstream U.S. film-making by pros who clearly loved the project. I just wish the basic DVD copy I've seen had the film-making extras on it that the Blue Ray version evidently has. Alas, there were none and this film definitely deserves better treatment than that.
Take look at this funny, moving, very entertaining little corker.
Kevin Bacon plays Dan Devereaux a NY band leader who has cheated on his wife Anne (Renée Zellweger) one too many times. Dan's claim to fame is that he wrote the hit song, "My One and Only." A song he ironically wrote for Anne.
Anne packs up her sons and leaves. Robbie (Mark Rendall) the older son by a different father is stereotypically gay. George (Logan Lerman) is 15 and is mature for his age. He becomes our voice of reason, outsmarting his mom's suitors who are not desirable when she can't see their flaws. Anne is old fashion southern. She is attempting to adapt to the societal changes in post WWII America. Ladies, do not drive. Robbie doesn't have the personality to drive, so unlicensed George is the family chauffeur. Anne instructs her son to look forward and never use the rear view mirror. She is that optimistic. The opening scenes are quick at revealing character.
Anne has trouble surviving in the real world, having never lived without being dependent on a man. The film is an enjoyable light comedy and light adventure. For those who like the quirkiness of an indie, and the star acting of a first run feature, this one has it all. Recommended viewing.
I bought this DVD on the basis that it is supposed to be one of Renee Zellweger's best ever movies...with Kevin Bacon as supporting actor. Actually it was rather boring, about a woman with two sons, a husband who is a lead in a popular band with a wandering eye...Renee decides she's had enough and hits the road with her two sons stopping off at different places along the way...all the while getting her heart broken by men...