October 4, 2015
Nicole Holofcener: The Truthdig Interview
Posted on Apr 6, 2006
By Sheerly Avni
Was this movie also based on your own life?
Ive always been a person who wanted to break the money taboo. If I told people what I made, I would see the looks on their faces. The discomfort—ғOh are we going there? Are we going to have to talk about that? Am I going to have to divulge what I make? IԒm so sick of this privacy thing about salaries, even though my girlfriends talk about every detail of our lives, down to well, God knows. Everything.
Like Frances McDormand֒s character, talking to her husband about her friends bad marriage: ғDo you know shes never even seen his asshole?Ҕ
Yes, we can confess our deepest secrets, the most private things in our lives, and when we are asked what do you get paid for that, we freeze up.
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I just dont want to feel ashamed of what IҒm making, whether its too little or too much. If itҒs too little, youre being degraded, and people say ғhey you should be making more. If itԒs too much, youre ғinflated and itԒs obscene what youre making, and you feel ashamed.
But I feel like money should be a part of my intimate conversations with people that I know well. ItҒs money it֒s a huge part of everybodys lives.
There is a book out right now called ғMoney, a Memoir, by Liz Perle, which talks about exactly this. How for women, money is still a taboo subject, and this keeps them from figuring out how to manage their money well.
As I reach this age it becomes even more talked about—and not talked about. Can you pay for private school, do you choose to pay for private school, blah blah blah. I have a friend who wonԒt pay for private school, but she will spend a helluva lot of money on clothes. [Sneers a bit for dramatic effect.] Shell spend that much money on clothes, but not on education?
Who are we to judge how other people spend their money? But we do it anyway. We love to judge.
Right, and Olivia [AnistonҒs character] is in the position where her friends all feel sorry for her. Shes a bit younger than they are, her life is unsettled. We hear over and over from the other women what a head case she is, and how worried they are, but my sense was that they were jealous of her too.
Well, the othersҒ lives are set in some ways. Children, houses. Olivia still has freedom.
You feel that way?
Sure. Unlike the other women, she still has a lot more choices than they do.
I dont feel that way. I feel like they wouldnҒt trade everything to be in Olivias shoes.
Think. For a woman to be 35, or 36, and have no money, and no boyfriend, and all your past boyfriends are louts ҅ your friends are going to be worried about you! I mean, you know her eggs are diminishing.
[Editors note: Our interviewer, who meets all these criteria—and then some—got thrown off by the phrase ғdiminishing eggs and missed the next few sentences.]
On the other hand, though, I think they are also judgmental, and I think that we are judgmental by nature. We all think we know whatԒs going on with other peopleWe can say, like in the movie, œOh, that womans husband is gayҔ but will we look at our own marriage?
The happiest couple in the movie is also the richest. Not very PC.
No, right? I guess I just think that life is about luck. This rich couple happens to have the most money. And they also happen to love each other the most. Thats just the way it is. ItҒs just kind of fucked oops, can I say that for your publication?
Good. Well then yes, it֒s fucked. I think money does help. I dont think it can help a bad relationship. But it makes a good relationship better, more able to enjoy their lives together, without financial stress.
So theyҒre just lucky in a way that Anistons character doesnҒt seem to be, at least at first.
Theres always that theory that when youҒre single youӒre not ready, you just dont love yourself enough yet.Ҕ Sure, all that hokey-pokey stuff, that airy fairy stuff, might be true. But at the same time, I believe that a lot of things in life are luck and fate, and that theres less poetry to it than we all want to think.
ThereҒs a huge disparity, but its nothing we canҒt deal with. We all talk about our goddamn feelings so much that if anyone has a feeling it gets spread around.
You also directed several episodes of Sex and the CityӔ—from the first season, when it was still good. But it wasnt particularly realistic.
ItҒs not realistic. Well, no, in its heart it was, the fact that because these women were so incredibly important to each other, that felt real to me. Even though I personally could never dress like that or look like that or talk like that.
Did you really believe that those women could have been friends, as different as they were?
Well, OK, not Samantha [the slutty publicist] or Charlotte [the waspy art dealer], but as a foursome, yes, they held together; they had an energy.
Youre one of the only directors I can think of who makes movies that really explore womenҒs friendships.
Friendship is such a huge part of your life, and it can be really dramatic. When I did Walking and Talking,Ӕ people kept insisting that the two women in the story were gay. And I kept saying that this has nothing to do with being gay. This is female friendship, and female friendship is loaded.
Your films always center around how women relate to each other. Will your next film do so as well?
Im not working on another film. I just donҒt have any ideas yet. Seriously, they come slowly!
I cant blame it on being a woman or saying that I canҒt get a movie made I just haven֒t liked anything Ive written enough to want to make it. And I do other things in between, writing jobs, directing TV shows. And I raise my kids.
[She shrugs, smiles.] You know how time goes by.
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