Beautiful Girls (1996)
Willie, a less than successful piano player, returns to his home town, to visit family and old friends. He's at a crossroad in his life. He's about to get married, and by all accounts he's got a great life, but he can't help but ponder how nothing really panned out the way he wanted. Compared to everyone else, though, he's an astronaut.
This Ted Demme movie is an absolute delight of tender nostalgia and melancholia. Timothy Hutton's Willie is our entry point, but this is really an ensemble drama full of well-observed little characters, played with absolute conviction by a great group of familiar actors. Everyone gets their moment, and no one steals the show.
Still, my favorite scenes are the ones between Hutton and Natalie Portman. She plays the 11 year old girl who lives next door to him, wise beyond her years, and the two of them have a connection. So sweet. A real heartbreaker. In fact, this whole film is just heartbreaking.
Never forget to love it.