I watched this old telefilm the other night (got an VHS copy of it). It is very by the numbers for a telefilm and is on a subject (martial strife) that has been covered in film many times before, both on the big and small screens. The movie ran an hour and a half (with no commercials) and to me seemed somewhat short or somewhat unfinished.
The title is pretty self-explanatory and gives the viewer an idea straight away of what the movie is about. Plus, if you've read any plot summaries or any information on it (granted, not a whole lot is available as this telefilm is incredibly rare), you'd know what the story was about. But here it is in a nutshell: Husband expresses to wife from the onset that he is unhappy in their marriage and is (sexually) unsatisfied. (I don't know how you'd be that with a wife like Lee Remick.) Anyways, Tom Hamill (Granville Van Dusen) is. He must be nuts. Obviously a mid-life crisis.
He leaves his wife, JoAnn, and starts dating during their separation. JoAnn also finds liberation at this time and gets a job as a typist and is trying to break into a career in graphic art. She also starts looking for male companionship other than her husband after she is hit on by a married friend who is more than happy to "comfort" her. I think the scene that perhaps amused me the most was when she was at this somewhat sleazy singles bar or something and is approached by this slimeball named Vic (Bruce Gray) who chats her up about Chaucer in an attempt to score. JoAnn moves on and overhears this greasy player use the same line on another woman he starts to chat up.
JoAnn is starting to embrace her independence, while her husband is starting to tire of "the single life" and wants his wife back. The kids in the situation, a son and a daughter, are not thrilled about the separation, but are coping. Tom wants to come back, but JoAnn doesn't want him back. The movie ends with them in a lawyer's office and Tom trying to reconcile with JoAnn. They do not, as far as I recall, and JoAnn goes on living as an independent mother.
I liked that JoAnn didn't take her lout of a husband back after he sowed his wild oats, if you will, and decided he wanted her back. I wouldn't have taken the jerk back either. Van Dusen was very good in his role as you didn't totally hate him, but maybe couldn't totally understand why or how he could be unfulfilled or unhappy in union with a wife and family like that. I mean, it was clear they still had a sex life because after their day at the park or beach, I presume, at the beginning when he tells her that he wants out, they make love that night (I'm sure). And he still wanted to see other women???!!!
Once he did and got that out of his system, he wanted JoAnn back. But she didn't want him back after that, and proper thing. While the movie shows JoAnn as a somewhat empowered woman after the marriage breakup for she got a job, this was still the 1970's and the job she had was a secretary, basically, and she was often demeaned because she was one and was of interest romantically to the executives she worked for, as well as other men (married and otherwise) who knew she was available. And when she tried to advance at her workplace from secretary to graphic designer, she was rejected for some reason, presumably for being a single mother. This was indeed cringeworthy, but again you have to put it in the context of the time (1978).
Remick gave her typically capable, strong performance and was also, as always, beautiful. Van Dusen, as I said before, was good as the conflicted husband. This is quite an average telefilm and nothing special. It was very formulaic and somewhat trite. Of course, any movie with Lee Remick is worth watching, so I wasn't disappointed. A fair film overall.
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