A successful but stressed mathematics professor (Clayburgh) goes to her father's wedding and falls in love with her father's bride's son (Douglas), a prematurely retired pro baseball player... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kate Gunzinger
Ben Lewin
Teresa Baxter ...
John Gabriel ...
Roger Robinson ...
Gail (as Diane Wiest)
Ron Frazier ...
Professor (as Ronald C. Frazier)
Edwin McDonough ...
Professor (as Edwin J. McDonough)


A successful but stressed mathematics professor (Clayburgh) goes to her father's wedding and falls in love with her father's bride's son (Douglas), a prematurely retired pro baseball player. She must choose between him and her current boyfriend (Grodin), between Chicago and New York, and between research and administration. Written by David Metzler

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Just when she thought she had everything right...in stepped Mr. Wrong. See more »


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 February 1981 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

A Perfect Circle  »

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Dianne Wiest's first feature film. See more »


[First lines.]
Kate Gunzinger: Let me just show you how to *construct* the map S, which is the fun of the lemma anyhow, okay? So you assume you have an element in the kernel of gamma, that is, an element in C, such that gamma takes you to 0 in C-prime. You pull it back to B, via map g, which is surjective...
Cooperman: Hold it, hold it, hold it. That's -- that's not unique.
Kate Gunzinger: Yes, it is unique, Mr. Cooperman. Up to an element of the image of f, all right? So we've pulled it back to a fixed B here. Then you take beta of B, ...
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User Reviews

SWF, professional,liberated, 30s, seeks "the real thing"
10 May 2002 | by (Chicago, IL) – See all my reviews

The final chapter in Jill Clayburgh's unplanned "independent woman" trilogy (the first two were "An Unmarried Woman" and "Starting Over"). This one is from the same writer as "Dirty Dancing," which probably explains why the main character in each is a Jewish woman who is very much "daddy's little girl."

Here, the protagonist is perhaps the most glamorous mathematics professor ever (she wears stilettos to class, but earthy gal that she is, removes them while solving equations at the blackboard). She's got relationship issues with her widowed dad who's remarrying, and with her divorced live-in boyfriend, plus she's conflicted about whether to take a new job in a new city that pays much more, but won't allow her to continue her research. She breezily describes her various complications as "modern problems," which tells you that the creators here felt they were at the very cutting edge of portraying the quintessential "liberated" woman. Laura Linney's character in "You Can Count On Me" had a similarly complicated life, but that film didn't feel the need for its characters to be so self-aware.

Michael Douglas enters the picture to help her figure out where/how to get the healthy, giving relationship that everyone around her seems to have, and that therefore is "her turn" to get (get it?)

This is a decent movie that actually doesn't feel particularly dated, (save for Clayburgh's Oscar-bait "big scene" towards the end) despite its obvious 70's era feminist overtones. But perhaps because of its agenda, the romance doesn't exactly sweep you off your feet.

As with most movies from the 80s, part of the fun is seeing what stars/faces of the future show up. Here, we get a young Daniel Stern, almost unrecognizable as Clayburgh's star pupil, and future "Law and Order" District Attorneys Steven Hill and Dianne Wiest.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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