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A young woman has difficulty understanding why her husband walks out on her. Alone for the first time, she finds life difficult to cope with and for a time lives with the hope that her husband will come back to her. After uncovering disturbing new information about her husbands infidelity, she finally comes to realize her marriage is truly over. And it is only then that she discovers what is truly important in life. Written by
Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>
This is a little-known, but rewarding seriocomic film about the tribulations of a young woman in the throes of a divorce. Van Devere plays a 27 year-old wife who watches (in a hilariously pretentious opening sequence) as her husband packs his things and walks out on her. Completely unprepared for this, she must jump the hurdles of a society who, at that time, didn't make things easy for a single woman. She "gets a job, gets a lawyer and gets laid" as the leader of a woman's league advises her. None of these things come easy or without pitfalls, however. She must tolerate a slimy employment recruiter and take on the unlikely task of being a lifeguard. She can't decide whether to have her lawyer castrate her husband or let him off easy. She finds the dating game to be more than a little daunting. She must get her feet wet and take the plunge in a new world (symbolized not too subtly by her occupation and an imposing diving board.) The film is a bit soapy, trite and pat at times, but thanks to the eventually endearing work of Van Devere (who's in virtually every scene), expert pacing and some excellent supporting players, it comes off as very enjoyable and pleasant. Douglas, who in this period was building an impressive resume of excellent supporting performances, shines as an elderly produce shop owner who is fond of the young lady. Leigh, in her last really glamorous big screen appearance before turning gaunt, gets off several snappy lines as the women's league leader. Elliot, legendary for her work on "General Hospital", is a very bright, attractive presence as Van Devere's best friend. Markham has one of his best big screen roles as a man trying to break through Van Devere's defenses. The film is a fascinating time capsule of early '70's fashions/hair and viewpoints on women and their roles at the time. As a lifeguard, the leading lady has to do a whole myriad of things that no one would do today (actually, no one her age could probably even BE a lifeguard today!) including rubbing lotion on a beached whale of a woman and putting a swimsuit on a naked child! The film raises questions as to how much women gained or lost in the sexual revolution, but also shows how much things have changed. To it's credit, the film avoids a lot of things (heart-tugging deaths, extraneous problems of the friends, loud confrontations, etc...) that would be inserted into a film today, giving it a much more realistic atmosphere. The musical score is effective, but the choice of song for the seduction scene is excruciatingly awful. Viewers will want to keep a mute button handy for that!
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