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Modern Romance (1981)

Albert Brooks directs himself as a successful film editor with far too many issues that affects the relationship between him and his remarkably patient girlfriend.



, (as Monica Johnson)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyann Means ...
Jane Hallaren ...
Karen Chandler ...
Dennis Kort ...
Health Food Salesman
Sporting Goods Salesman
Virginia Feingold ...
Bank Receptionist
Thelma Leeds ...
Albert Brooks' Mother (as Thelma Bernstein)
Candy Castillo ...
Drugstore Manager
Himself and Zeron
Rick Beckner ...
Jerry Belson ...


Robert Cole, a film editor, is constantly breaking up with and reconciling with long-suffering girl friend Mary Harvard, who works at a bank. He is irrationally jealous and self-centered, while Mary has been too willing to let him get away with his disruptive antics. Can they learn to live with each other? Can they learn to live without each other? The movie also provides insight into film editing as Robert and co-worker Jay work on their current project, a cheesy sci-fi movie. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


If it's not love, what is it? See more »


Comedy | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Modern Romance - Muß denn Liebe Alptraum Sein?  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Clifford Einstein: The brother of Albert Brooks as a music mixer billed as Cliff Einstein. See more »


When Albert is high on Quaaludes, he puts on a record album and the disco hit "A Fifth of Beethoven" comes on. But watch the needle on the turntable - you can see the arm retracting and returning from the spindle while the music is playing. See more »


Robert Cole: [on the phone with Jay] Jay, listen -- I didn't tell you this before, and I think I should tell you now. I love you. I mean, in the right way. I think you're an amazing guy, and I -- I think I just love you.
Jay: The ludes kicked in, right?
See more »


References Heaven's Gate (1980) See more »


Written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher
Performed by The Beach Boys
Courtesy of Capitol Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Albert Brooks' greatest film (and that's saying something)
1 June 2003 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

MODERN ROMANCE is one of the great unsung film comedies. It's not for everyone, in that the comedy is possibly too close-to-the-bone for people who like their comedy nice and painless. But in the post-Seinfeld era, when Curb Your Enthusiasm is a cult favorite, it is looking more and more like Modern Romance was WAY ahead of its time.

Real Life, Lost In America, and Defending Your Life are all great, but for some reason this film stands out to me as Mr. Brooks' greatest cinematic effort. (Stanley Kubrick was a fan, too-- he was trying to make his own film about jealousy, which would end up being EYES WIDE SHUT two decades later.)

The real shame is that this film is the only Brooks effort never released on DVD. We can only hope that Criterion might rescue it from oblivion with a nice special edition (with commentary by Brooks!)

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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