There are many movies in which the set’s design is just as important as the actors and characters played in it. Recently, I noticed that in every truly great romantic comedy, beside sharp-witted texts, excellent ensemble of actors and a wonderful soundtrack, will also include amazing locations. If you’ll think about it, you’ll find that most of the romantic comedies you saved in your favorites also include an especially dreamy house. It seems that no one sees it better than the director Nancy Meyers, who also wrote and directed several other great romantic comedies, each including an amazing house which advance the plot and ‘takes part’ in the movie itself. Such as Diane Keaton’s beach house in ‘Something’s Gotta Give’, Kate Winslet’s English cottage and Cameron Diaz’ Hollywoodian house in ‘The Holiday’, or the colonial family house of Steve Martin in the film series ‘Father of the Bride’.
This time in the (inconsistent) series “Cinematic House”, we will visit the house of Jane Adler (Meryl Streep), in the film “It’s Complicated”. Jane divorced Jack (Alec Baldwin), a successful and charming lawyer, ten years ago, to whom she was for twenty years, after he cheated on her with a young successful woman whom he later married. She finally living a full and happy life, as the owner of a Café & Pastry, surrounded by supporting friends and children (with the youngest just leaving the nest). After their son’s graduation in New York, Jane and Jack find themselves spending a nostalgic night together, leading to an affair between them. Later, Jane finds herself in a confusing romantic triangle, when her relationship with her divorced architect (Steve Martin) turn hotter.
Don’t let the simple, flavorless and over-dramatic trailer fool you, this is an extremely witty and funny comedy.
The house in Santa Barbara, California, is a countryside mansion built in a Spanish style in the 1920s.
It is roofed with patina roof-tiles.
A column veranda at the entrance, tiles with terracotta tiles.
Iron doors and windows, allowing the view of the beautiful outdoors to enter the inside.
A pool, rolling grass carpets and giant trees.
And a green garden, the dream of every ‘Green Thumb’
Those expensive spaces can turn anyone envious.
The interior design completes the look of the house with a warm and welcoming style. A house that rightfully represent the woman who lives in it, with a wide heart, family-oriented and straightforward. It’s true that the style is a bit too much ‘pottery barn’ for me, but it is easy to imagine a sweet and happy family live in it.
The heart of both Jane’s live and the house itself is the kitchen.
She has a pre-standing bathtub to relax in at the end of a day.
And a warm and feminine bedroom.
At the beginning of the film, Jane decides to give herself the renovation she always dreamed about. Upgrading the kitchen (the center of her life), creating a large dining room for her whole family (even if it’s not “as whole” as before), and a new floor for a new bedroom suite just for her.
The decision to renovate the house signals Jane’s accepting her life the way it is and the understanding that she indeed deserves it. She decides to stop withholding herself, and to fulfill her dreams herself.
During the whole movie we see a comparison between Jane and her house. Once she finds herself in a surprising love triangle, and the chaos in her life begins, she keeps on forgetting the meetings she scheduled with her architect and starts to wonder whether she truly wish to renovate the house (and her life).
Beside the amazing design of each and every frame, you got to fall in love with such a food-oriented film… everything is so beautiful and delicious. Jane is a wonderful cook who keeps on expressing and deal with her feeling by cooking for those around her.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Excuse me for breaking the cinematic illusion, but the real house was only filmed from outside, the whole interior set was built in the studios in Brooklyn, New York, although the interior spaces were indeed designed with the original house in mind. An interesting comparison between the original house and the set can be seen here.
You should also check out the first post in the “Cinematic House” series, from “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day”, highly recommended!