I somewhat think that my expectations of this movie were too high going in. Aside from the lovely Catherine Keener, L&A also features Jake Gyllenhaal, who was amazing in last year's Donnie Darko. The performances were good, especially Brenda Blethyn as Jane, the insecure mother of failed artist Michelle (Keener), failing actress Emily (Elizabeth Marks) and the adopted Annie (Raven Goodwin).
An early scene, which displayed Michelle's life like a botany experiment, blew me away. As she unsuccessfully tries to sell her artwork (small chairs made of twigs) to an midrange boutique, she runs into a woman she hasn't seen since high school. In just a few exchanges of dialogue, we learn that the former classmate is a busy pediatrician, while Michelle is still mired in arts and crafts. The matter-of-fact display of success and failure is stunning, but had me prepared for a movie where all the scenes would be as good as this one.
The final scene, final shot actually, is perhaps the other tentpole that holds the movie up. It consisted of a wordless, meticulous display of love and affection from a daughter to a mother, which was what much of the movie obviously built towards.
Lovely and Amazing is not a bad movie, it's just not everything the title claims to be.