Dames and dragons

At the center of Lovely and Amazing is a dysfunctional family of mostly women. The mother, Jane (Brenda Ble­thyn), a lonely divorcée, is preparing for liposuction at the hands of a handsome surgeon (Michael Nouri). Her eldest daughter, Michelle (Catherine Keener), makes crafts she can't sell. When her husband (Clark Gregg), who's cheating on her with her best friend, turns caustic about her inability to bring any money home, she impulsively takes a job at a 24-hour photo shop, where her boss is a teen outcast (Jake Gyllenhaal) in desperate need of some sexual confidence. Michelle's sister Elizabeth (Emily Mortimer) is an actress whose neurosis about her looks wins little sympathy from her boyfriend (James Le­Gros). Jane's third, adopted daughter is an African-American youngster named Annie (Raven Goodwin) who acts out her identity confusion in a series of textbook behaviors (main­ly over­eating).

 

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