Mirabelle Buttersfield leads a lonely life on the glove counter of the upmarket Saks department store. By night, she sketches and wonders when life will change. It does when scruffy, would-be designer Jeremy asks her out. Prepared to offer sex just so she can be held, Mirabelle puts up with his cheapskate selfishness. When a sophisticated older man, Ray Porter, also asks for a date, what’s a girl to do? But Ray, like Jeremy, has a lot to learn about what women want.
Shopgirl is a quality film. Its low key coolness sets a sombre tone. The sense of detachment is deliberate – making us feel the emotional emptiness that Mirabelle does. Claire Danes is perfect as Mirabelle, conveying the subtleties of an ordinary girl wanting to be loved. Women will empathise and men will want to hug her. And that’s the point. Because love is a three-letter word – hug.
Shopgirl is a sobering and serious film with comic touches and a scintillating performance from Claire Danes. But this is not just about romance, it’s about the longings of life. It makes you wonder why Steve Martin has spent his career starring in goofy-grin movies, when he can write as powerfully as this.
And, blokes, if you want to see the damage you do to women, watch this film and learn.
Once you’ve seen Shopgirl, checking-out the girl at the checkout will never be the same again.