Last night was the first Philadelphia screening of IN HER SHOES, an invitation-only affair hosted by the Philadelphia Film Office for the local actors and crew.

I've seen the movie half a dozen times now, but last night was my favorite, hands-down. I can't imagine a more supportive audience.

Director Curtis Hanson gave a lovely speech, saying that how when you tell a studio you've got to go to Florida to film the ocean, you get no argument, but when you tell them you've got to go to Philadelphia, they start making noise about visiting our neighbors to the North. But Philadelphia, he said, was a character in the book, and he and producing partner Carol Fenelon wanted it to be a character in the movie as well.

Then the lights went down, the movie started, and everyone there fell in love with Rose and Maggie, with Ella and Lewis, with Honey Bun II and, maybe most of all, with Mrs. Lefkowitz.

Some of them were my friends and relatives, and my relatives' friends, and clearly, the people who were in the movie -- Nicola Shirley and friends of the Jamaican Jerk Hut, the crew from DiBruno's, the local actors who talked basketball with Simon Stein outside of Pat's Cheesesteaks -- were primed to like the final product.

But it was so great to sit in a theater surrounded by people who laughed hard at all the jokes, who cried at the sad parts, and who said, over and over, that they loved the movie and loved seeing Philadelphia in the movie.

I'm going to see the film again on Wednesday night in Toronto, then in New York, and then later this month at the big premiere in Los Angeles, but I suspect that last night's screening will be one of my all-time favorites. Thanks to everyone who was there.

And, to everyone who wasn't, I'm happy to finally announce that we'll be holding a special night-before-opening-night showing of IN HER SHOES, the movie, on October 6, here in Center City, to benefit the Free Library of Philadelphia.

We're still working out the specifics of time and place, but if you're in Philadelphia and you've got any interest, please save the date and keep checking this blog for details -- or shoot an email to and we'll send you details when we've got 'em.