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A Delicate Balance (1973)

PG | | Drama | April 1976 (UK)
A well-to-do Connecticut family is upended when the grown daughter's godparents, seized by a nameless terror, decide they've come to live with them.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
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Agnes
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Tobias
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Julia
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Claire
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Harry
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Edna
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Storyline

In Connecticut, Agnes and Tobias are an upper-class married couple whose relationship has been uneasy for many years, since at least the time their son died; but they've managed to find a certain comfortable pattern of uneasiness. Agnes's sister, Claire, lives with them and insists that her perpetual drinking is not alcoholism but willfulness. Their daughter, Julia, poised to have her fourth divorce, has come back home. Unexpectedly, her room has been taken over by Harry and Edna, best friends of Tobias and Agnes. Seized by a nameless terror that propelled them out of their own house, Harry and Edna have decided to stay. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The sister who drank too much. The daughter who divorced too much. They're all there when Tobias and Agnes have their little get-together and tear-apart.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

April 1976 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Balansgång  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Katharine Hepburn as Agnes, mother to Julia (Lee Remick), plays the only mother in the film. In real life, Hepburn was the only one of the film's 4 actresses (incl. Remick, Kate Reid and Betsy Blair) who wasn't a mother. See more »

Quotes

Agnes: Time! Time happens, I suppose, to people. Everything becomes... too late, finally. You know it's going on up on the hill; ou can see the dust, and hear the cries, and the steel... but you wait, and time happens. When you do go, sword, shield... finally... there's nothing there... save rust, bones and the wind.
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User Reviews

Delicate Indeed
22 August 2004 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

As a huge fan of Albee's `Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' and that time in cinema known as the 70's when Hollywood temporarily forgot it was a business and attempted to make films that were about something, I approached AFT's `A Delicate Balance' with no little anticipation.

Sitting through this lengthy talk-fest of suburban WASPs initially proved unsatisfying. Drawn to something, I found myself unable to turn off the DVD, but wondered if it was merely a hope that `something' was going to happen to explain why these people assembled resembled no human beings I'd ever encountered.

Once the film ended, I resigned myself to having endured an inferior Albee production, puzzled by its reputation. Yet somehow my first impression struck me as false. I mean, I had to admit I loved the performances and there was something about the suburban milieu, that atmosphere of `Ordinary People,' that was intriguing enough to keep me watching, yet still left me cold.

I watched the film again, and like a pianist who learns to play the music after forgetting about the technique of the notes, I discovered a gripping, bitingly funny and achingly honest look into the fear of aging, the obligations of love, and the price paid for order instead of the messy spontaneity of actually living.

The language of `A Delicate Balance' is both its blessing and its curse. It's distancing in its theatricality, but BOY what those words convey! The performances too suffer the dual burden of being rich characterizations of people you'd hate to spend an evening with.

I found the film to be like a great work of literature; its riches aren't laid out easily on the surface for one to grasp, but if you take the time, it can be the most rewarding of experiences. Excellent if not exactly accessible.


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