Movie Reel` Carolina

Starring: Julia Stiles, Shirley MacLaine, and Alessandro Nivola.
Rating: PG-13

Carolina Mirabeau was raised ‘free-spirited’ with two sisters by eccentric, domineering grandma Millicent in the country. Carolina’s city neighbor, talented and witty Jewish author Albert Morris, is her best friend, confident and the wacky family’s favorite guest. Yet she gets engaged with Heath Pierson, an ‘all too perfect’ upper class brilliant Britton, whom she met in the TV studio where she’s fired as dating show candidates-screener. But the past and some truths catch up with all of them. (Summary from

I don’t remember exactly when I found this movie. I do remember that it was in one of those “3 for $15” bins at Blockbuster/Hollywood Video. My mom and I happened across it and picked it up. Partly, because we needed a third movie, and partly because we both love Julia Stiles. Neither of us had ever heard of it, but once we watched it, it became one of our favorite movies.

I blame 10 Things I Hate About You for the fact that I really love Julia Stiles. I’ve seen just about everything she’s done, and this is still one of my favorite movies. Is it cheesy? Yes is it. Is it fairly predicable? Absolutely. But the characters are what make this movie pop.

Carolina is the character that most everyone can identify with in some way. She’s the girl who just wants to live a normal life, have a normal family, and be in a normal relationship. None of which seem to be in the deck she was dealt. She continues to fight for her normality to the point of breaking relationships with people she truly cares about.

Albert. Wonderful, wonderful Albert. As next door neighbors go, you could do a lot worse than a guy posing as a female writer to write trashy romance novels. He’s protective but not creepy, and accepts Carolina’s crazy family for what it is, never judging her or them. Plus, when a guy writes yours and his story as a romance novel (a classy one, not a trashy one), what’s not not love?

Heath Pierson is the classic obstacle between Carolina and Albert. He’s dashing and handsome, and says all the right things to Carolina. He’s everything that she wants in a relationship, but doesn’t feel like he fits into her life. He always seemed to genuinely care about Carolina, but bites off a bit more than he can chew when he meets her family.

Carolina’s family is… crazy. But what family isn’t? Her grandma is as blunt of a person as they come. She always finds a way to get what she wants, but never forgets to help her granddaughters out when needed. Her sisters, Georgia and Maine, round out this family in it’s craziness. But all this craziness is what makes this family hold up and stick together through everything.


Albert Morris: I’m a writer, remember? I judge character faster than a speeding bullet.


Carolina Mirabeau: Who wants to say grace?
Albert Morris: I do.
Grandma Mirabeau: Oh, Albert, I love you like a son, honey. But you Jewish people, you can’t go and kill Christ and expect to have a sit down conversation with him later.
Albert Morris: Fine. He’s all yours. I’ll chat with him over dessert.


Grandma Mirabeau: [to granddaughter Maine] I’m not asking you to be a normal child, ’cause that’s not the Mirabeau way. I’m just asking you to be a little smarter about your crazy side, okay?

Buy Carolina on DVD on Amazon.

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