Manny & Lo
(1996, Scarlett Johansson, Aleksa Palladino, Mary Kay Place, Dir. Lisa Krueger)
The story of Manny & Lo follows the eponymous orphaned pair of sisters as they flee their respective foster homes to travel together, living off of stolen food and sleeping in furnished model homes and suburban lawns. The older sister, Lo, becomes pregnant and in a flash of misguided inspiration, the two girls kidnap a knowledgable seeming woman from a maternity shop.
Aleksa Palladino plays the prickly Lo and is by far the weakest link of the film, performance-wise. She came off quite flat. Johansson, as the observant young Manny, and Mary Kay Place as the kidnapped woman, Elaine, do much better. It helps that the script is pretty well-written, dialogue-wise, even if the story itself is not that fascinating.
It was fascinating to see some of Johansson's acting mannerisms show up in her younger self. Now, if only she could land another role like she had in Lost in Translation
, I might renew my interest in her career.
In Manny & Lo
, all the characters, even the minor ones, are busy trying to convince others and themselves that they are important to the world. For Lo, it's perpetuating the idea that the cops are actively looking for them. To admit that they're not, would be conceding that the world is indifferent to what happens to the two girls. This theme - fighting against the world's indifference - could have been explored more, though doing so would have threatened the light tone of the film. But I wouldn't have minded sacrificing that tone a bit to get some more meat to the story.
I give it a 6.5/10