Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti were excellent as a sympathetic New York couple struggling to have a baby in Tamara Jenkins’s intensely personal drama
After her intriguing, if flawed, sibling drama The Savages in 2007, Tamara Jenkins has returned with another intensely personal film. It is a triumph. She shows an uncanny knack of absorbing and transforming her own experiences into a compelling movie. Private Life is superbly acted and written, giving the audience vivid access to a painful yet funny human drama.
Kathryn Hahn, a seasoned comedy-character turn, is an absolute revelation in the demanding role of Rachel, a New York literary author who has critical prestige but not much in the way of sales. Her partner is Richard, a former off-Broadway theatre director who has retired from this business, without much regret, and now makes a living selling his pickles at artisanal markets. This is a role made for Paul Giamatti, and it is a pleasure to see him in a challenging part to be compared with those in the movies that made his name: American Splendor and Sideways.