Classics from the Queue: Kissing Jessica Stein

So I haven’t technically lied about seeing this. I just had never seen it all the way through, because the first time I tried to watch it I was way too young to get it, and unfortunately chose to watch it with my mom. We got about 25 minutes in before she declared it ‘weird,’ and mercifully ended my discomfort by turning it off. (Which is kind of amazing, we are not the kind of people who give up on movies.) So I didn’t really think much of this movie until one of my best friends in college said that she related to it more than any other movie.

And then Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids came out last year and was so perfect that I decided I must have missed something in Kissing Jessica Stein. And I was right. This movie is weird, and I don’t need to sit down with my mom and watch it anytime soon, but it’s also really delightful. Though I don’t think I can see myself ever following in Jessica’s footsteps, dating a woman to get over her despair over the horrible men she keeps meeting, the way the story unfolds is way more believable than I remembered it being.

I don’t think I’m alone in relating to Jennifer Westfeldt’s point of view, which comes through so strongly in her movies but I’m having a hard time thinking of the words to describe it. Her movies, this one included, are filled with so many little moments that seem unremarkable but are perfect little encapsulations of how I feel about something. Like the shot of Jessica trying to meditate, taking one breath and then checking the clock, frustrated that time doesn’t seem to be moving – or the sequence where she has to run back into her apartment before work because she forgot to take out her curlers. Simple, seemingly meaningless moments make her work so close to perfect for me.


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