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Now here's a surprise. We've all known for a while that Natalie Portman would, somewhat unfortunately, be following up her hugely praised performance in Black Swan with a role in the utterly rote-looking No Strings Attached, a romantic comedy that pairs her with Ashton Kutcher, of all people. But it turns out there will be another Portman movie in theaters between now and the Oscars where she'll likely be up for a prize; The Other Woman, formerly titled Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, will be hitting on demand on New Year's Day before coming to theaters on February 4. Vulture premiered the poster for the film today, and you can also see it below. We'll talk more after.
The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009 to somewhat positive reviews, with Screen Daily calling it "sweet and sensitive but also predictable and protracted" and Variety praised Portman's "utterly fearless performance" (granted, he hadn't seen Black Swan yet). The movie seems like one of those low-key, merely OK indies that comes out of festivals and lands with little fanfare, which explains why they've waited this long to put it in theaters.
Still, you can't really imagine better timing. Not only is Portman in the spotlight earning raves for her performance in Black Swan, she's even in the gossip headlines thanks to her new pregnancy and engagement. Putting the movie on on-demand starting New Year's Day will bring in curious and lazy eyeballs, while a theatrical run closer to the Oscars could lure in all of Portman's new fans. It's not likely to be a giant Black Swan-sized hit, but this release will probably help it do as well as it can.
In the movie, based on Ayelet Waldman's novel, Portman plays a young woman married to an older man whose ex (Lisa Kudrow) remains bitter about the new relationship. She's also struggling with the sudden death of her infant daughter and the intense dislike from her stepson (Charlie Tahan), who needles her endlessly. Portman's character is reportedly unlikeable but also sympathetic, which makes another big step forward for the actress who's continually proving, over and over, how much talent she has. Her fans clearly have plenty to look forward to in 2010.