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Clint Eastwood's 2nd directorial effort is a gentle, pleasant surprise
that probably will evoke a completely different reaction if one were to
observe a strict adherence to societal norms. A 50 plus well-to-do
business guy with a 19-year-old hippie drifter? Not necessarily
uncommon but in this film the girl's not in it for the money and the
guy's not in it for the sex. They genuinely love and cherish each
other, and strangely, this is the element of controversy.
William Holden plays Frank, a cynical divorced real estate broker who lives by himself with only a series of uncommitted relationships for companionship and a mental rulebook that precludes serious involvement. He is likewise surrounded by like-minded cynics that all want for something they have long since given up on . . . youth. Not so much in chronological terms, but more in attitude and that sense of wonder about life. Breezy is the very embodiment of that sense of wonder, and despite her 19 years, possesses a wisdom that cuts through the cynical disillusionment of Frank, who unlike what you'd expect, never makes a sexual advance toward the younger girl, even though she's very attractive and probably willing. For her part, Breezy recognized the sensitive soul that Frank has taken pains to suppress and confounds his suspicions by giving of herself to him without asking for anything in return. When he eventually gives in to his feelings, the age difference becomes irrelevant, but Breezy and Frank do not exist in a vacuum and the outside world eventually fills his head with doubt. His best friend, while being envious of the "zing " Breezy has put into Frank's life, laments thus: "Why should a young girl like that love an old fart like me? I'd be a meal ticket for her and nothing more." And even if it could be more, "where could I go with her without feeling like a child molester?" And so Frank smolders in a crisis of perception that already had been countered by Breezy in an earlier scene. "Is that how it is Frankie? Do you start believing what you see in the mirror and forget about what you feel inside? Do you stop feeling because the outside of you makes it seem foolish? Does becoming older mean feeling foolish? What's there to look forward to if you can't go on loving and being loved?" Surely this bit of wisdom transcends any distance of years between two people.
I saw "Breezy" last night on the Universal HD channel. I hadn't seen it
since the '70s when I saw the TV version. One would expect to enjoy a
film such as "Star Wars" in HD-you wouldn't immediately think that a
film like "Breezy" would benefit from this treatment. However, the
crystal-clarity of the presentation brings back the look of Southern
California of the early Seventies in all of its glory that can only
really be appreciated by those who lived here back then. Seeing the
locations in Topanga Canyon, Malibu, and the Valley; the hippies, the
straights in their suits and ties, and the way the Generation Gap (back
in the day when there REALLY was one) is treated is definitely a trip
down memory lane.
Anyone who has ever had a love that has dissolved into sadness with the passing of time (most of us) can fully relate to this film. This is a story about a young woman who has so much to share: her exuberance, her unique way of looking at the world, her evolving femininity, her inner and outer beauty. It's also about a powerful and successful man who is at the crossroads in his life. It is a film is about two people that, for a brief moment, are able to look beyond the constraints of societal disapproval and just simply appreciate what the other has to give.
When I first saw this film, I was the same age as Breezy. Now thirty three years later, I'm getting close to Frank's age. Nobody prepares you for the passing of time. They don't teach you how to handle it in school, there's no handbook that you can refer to as the years slip away. No, the greatest challenge in life is something you can't prepare for, you can only live through it, and each person's journey is different from the rest. In that aspect, this film is a wise and knowing look at real life. Sure, there's some stilted dialogue, and some of the scenes are a bit too predictable. but if you scratch the surface, you'll find a diamond underneath.
I am fortunate to be able to say that I see Kay Lenz frequently. I'd like everyone to know that she still has a unique beauty that is greatly unaffected by the passing of the years. Sure, she's not twenty anymore, but who is? She has an easy, graceful way about her that is a pleasure to experience, and just hearing her angelic voice, which has changed only slightly through the years, brings me back to that world of beach walks, undeveloped L.A. canyons, and six bedroom houses in the Valley that cost $88,000 (!!). For you non-actors out there, remember, Kay was playing a role. Breezy was a character, not a real person. However, if you were smitten with that character, you would not be disappointed to see the real Kay today. If anything, she is even more endearing in 2006 than she was in 1973.
Let's face it folks, growing old stinks. Falling out of love is even worse. This film handles both of these issues with a grace and acceptance that is missing from most of the films made about these themes. I truly believe that there is something in this film for all who care to look for it.
One of Clint Eastwood's early yet still obscure directorial efforts,
`Breezy' gently and charmingly explores the nature of wisdom, which can be
present in the most unusual of people and the real meaning of happiness,
which is usually found in the oddest and least-expected of places, usually
when one is not looking for it.
Amid the smoldering cultural wreckage of the recently-ended 1960s with its nagging remnants of the shrill `don't trust anyone over 30' crowd and the seemingly still-unbridgeable `generation gap,' the odd and quirky relationship between the youthful, Ophelia-like Edith Alice `Breezy' Breezerman (Lenz) and the middle-aged Frank Harmon (Holden) successfully and simultaneously reveals several very simple but still frequently-ignored truths; that shrewdness and insight are not necessarily the sole province of the `aged' and that a carefree, happy spontaneity isn't and shouldn't be automatically restricted to the `young.' And, more subtly, we also are quietly reminded that neither wisdom nor happiness can realistically exist isolated from one another and that the bitter memories of our own respective pasts can often tragically prevent us from getting what we truly need the most.
Like the Italian neo-realist director Sergio Leone under which Eastwood successfully toiled in the 1960s, the personalities of the film's characters are deliberately and slowly intensified but not over-presented or stereotyped, which adds to the power, insight and poignancy of this understated and well-produced film.
I can't believe this movie was only graded 5.6/10 (as of today) !! Even though this will obviously remind you of Kubrick's "Lolita" (1962), Clint Eastwood makes an incredibly promising debut as a director. His style is already intact. The development is simple and yet subtle, the acting is great and the lead cast is absolutely adequate. I was really pleasantly surprised and I deeply regret not taping it given its unavailability for sale. Unfortunately, this is yet another gem lost in a sea of mediocrity.
Another fine 70s adult character drama with typically rich details,
compelling characterization and seemingly aimless pacing representative
of that great and celebrated era in American movies.
Directed with inspired understatement by Clint Eastwood early in his film-making career and with a well crafted script it's an excellent spin on the older man/young girl conflict set in photogenic LA.
Kay Lenz so winning and charming as the free spirited idealistic temptress. With his fabulously craggy face and usual smoky boozy sincere caustic growl William Holden created another memorable portrait of aging dispirited masculinity.
If I had seen it last year I would have certainly been shrieking it's virtues during my rant against Lost in Translation.
I watched this film again today on AMC, and I find it to be an in-depth
character study set in a time of a rapidly changing society, 1973.
Breezy is a young, free spirited, outgoing hippy living on the streets of Los Angeles. Frank is a middle aged, roughened, hard drinking real estate salesman with an ex-wife and ex-girlfriend. They are total opposites. A chance meeting brings the two together. The relationship that ensues is one of turbulence, kindness, and complexities as the two attempt to merge their worlds.
This is the third film directed by Clint Eastwood; the richness of the characters resembles that of Play Misty for Me. Of particular interest to fans of Clint Eastwood's work, and for people who remember the 70's.
William Holden is always a good reason to watch a film. I thought he was wonderful in this. And even though his face looked much older, his body certainly did not!!Nice!! He gave a terrific performance and was very cute in the cotton candy scene and when he was rolling up her sleeves(love that scene and dialogue). Kay Lenz was so natural and I thought their relationship was very believable. It's always nice to see a heart open up and let the happiness take over. No matter what your age, or differences. This is such a nice quiet movie and it really stays with me for days after watching it. Can't wait to buy it and watch it anytime.
I have to echo some of the other comments here and say that this great film SHOULD BE RE-RELEASED ON VHS AND DVD!! ARE you listening Mr Eastwood??! A wonderful cross generational love story that doesn't ring a false note, I'm glad I was able to find a copy of the unedited for TV version since I've only seen a TV edited version some years ago and it stuck in my head....it's that good a film and I recommend it to all!
Even though William Holden is the star of the film, it is Kay Lenz that holds the film together. Her beauty and innocence is what makes the movie enjoyable. With a sexy over bite like Jessica Simpson's, Lenz represents the ignorant bliss that made up the 70's. Holden, on the other hand, represents the tired and unhappy generation that made up the quiet and conservative solitude of the 60's. With moments much like Weekend with the Babysitter, Breezy has its moments of eye candy and sex. An early Clint Eastwood film, Clint didn't use direction to interest his audience but the story of 2 completely different people who somehow fall in love when nothing else makes sense.
Why do I love love stories so much? This movie is embedded in my brain from back in the 70's when I was young and in love myself. I wish I could see this film again because of the angel, Kay Lenz. Now, I'm the divorced, middle-aged man like in the story. When will my Kay Lenz appear to me?
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