They may have a formula, but Nancy Meyers films are irresistibly charismatic

For some, it’s simply not Christmas if there isn’t a special viewing of The Holiday.

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During a career spanning almost four decades, the film director Nancy Meyers has never been fetishised by serious critics but she has built a particulalry devoted audience. For some, it’s simply not Christmas if there isn’t a special viewing of The Holiday; others hold Meyers-themed bachelorette parties in turtlenecks in the Hamptons.

Worshippers at the Church of Meyers know what to expect of her films: an older female lead, often in a period of sexual rediscovery, reflecting on conflicting feelings about her husband, ex or job. She has the support of other women and a loving family. But she is independent, with a fun job and no financial worries. There are no genuine villains in a Meyers movie – just men who haven’t got their shit together (yet). She has a great sense of style, and, most importantly, she has a fucking incredible house. It looks like Ina Garten’s house and Gwyneth Paltrow’s house had a baby, baked fresh cookies and invited their loved ones over to inject it with a sense of homeliness.

Home Again, the new film produced by Nancy Meyers but written and directed by her daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer, stars Reese Witherspoon as Alice, the daughter of a famous film director, who has separated from her husband and moved her children from New York to a gorgeous LA mansion. A birthday night out and a series of coincidences result in three handsome aspiring film-makers moving into her guest house. Hilarity abounds.

It would be easy (and fair) to criticise Meyers films for their elitist and almost exclusively white slice of society. But Home Again, like other Nancy Meyers movies, is joyful for its pure escapism. Who wouldn’t want to be Reese Witherspoon in this movie – a rich, practically unemployed interior designer with no worries, aside from whether to choose her handsome ex-husband or the handsome young man competing for her affections? It might not be quite as charming as 2015’s The Intern, but this is a Meyers movie through and through: irresistibly charismatic. 

Anna Leszkiewicz is culture editor of the New Statesman.

This article appears in the 21 September 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The revenge of the left

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