I Love You, I Love You Not

on October 31, 1997 by Christine James
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   High school is horrible and wonderful. Being a teenager is horrible and wonderful. Claire Danes, who embodied the archetypal angst-ridden everyteen on TV's "My So-Called Life," here plays another awkward adolescent--one even more vulnerable than that show's Angela. In the coming-of-age drama "I Love You, I Love You Not," Danes is Daisy, a shy student in a posh private school who occasionally feels like an outsider because of her Jewish lineage. In typical teen fashion, her moods swing erratically, mostly catalyzed in one direction or another by the status of her love life. Daisy is completely infatuated with the school's Golden Boy, Ethan (Jude Law); though she can't even bring herself to speak to him, he notices her starry-eyed glances and begins to court her. But can the most popular guy in school stay interested in a certified bookworm and perennial dreamer?
   Patiently enduring Daisy's ever-alternating doses of elation and depression is Nana (Jeanne Moreau), the loving, wry, good-humored, individualistic grandmother whom Daisy visits each weekend. Nana is able to break through the teen/authority figure wall and become a true confidante to her beloved granddaughter. In turn, Nana shares with Daisy the hardships she suffered as a girl during the Holocaust. Nana's younger self in these scenes is played by Danes, further illustrating the identification between the two. Daisy is haunted yet fascinated by these accounts, representing her own struggle to accept her heritage and herself.
   It's a simple yet elegant and authentic portrait of the delicate emotions of a delicate girl, and of how her grandmother teaches her to embrace an aspect of herself she once viewed with shame, strengthening her and enabling her to face adversity without giving in and sacrificing individuality. Excellent, moving performances are given by Moreau and Danes, who portray a very genuine affection and connection. Law's Ethan is certainly charming but perhaps a little too cocksure, making his interest in the naive Daisy uncomfortably suspect from the onset.    Starring Jeanne Moreau, Claire Danes and Jude Law. Directed by Billy Hopkins. Written by Wendy Kesselman. Produced by Joe Caracciolo Jr., John Fiedler and Mark Tarlov. A CFP release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 91 min.
Tags: Jeanne Moreau, Claire Danes and Jude Law. Directed by Billy Hopkins. Written by Wendy Kesselman. Produced by Joe Caracciolo Jr., John Fiedler and Mark Tarlov. A CFP release. Drama, heritage, delicate, emotions, good-humored, teenager
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