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Only When I Laugh (1981)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  23 September 1981 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 771 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 4 critic

A boozy Broadway actress comes out of a 12-week cure to face the problems of her best friends as well as her needy daughter. She tries to balance the terrors of returning to work with the ... See full summary »

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Title: Only When I Laugh (1981)

Only When I Laugh (1981) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Georgia
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Polly
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...
Toby
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David
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Lou: an Actor
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Boxing Fan in Bar
Ed Moore ...
Dr. Komack
Byron Webster ...
Tom
Peter Coffield ...
Mr. Tarloff
Mark Schubb ...
Adam Kasabian
Ellen La Gamba ...
Receptionist
...
Nurse Garcia
...
Manuel
Nancy Nagler ...
Heidi
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Storyline

A boozy Broadway actress comes out of a 12-week cure to face the problems of her best friends as well as her needy daughter. She tries to balance the terrors of returning to work with the demands of all around her with humor and insight, while staying off the booze. Written by Ed Lorusso

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Kristy McNichol is a daughter who never had a childhood. Marsha Mason is a mother who never grew up. And when they get together, they're the most mismatched roomates since "The Goodbye Girl". See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

23 September 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Only When I Laugh  »

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(Metrocolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of five films written by Neil Simon that featured his former wife Marsha Mason. The movies include The Goodbye Girl (1977), Chapter Two (1979), The Cheap Detective (1978), Only When I Laugh (1981) and Max Dugan Returns (1983). See more »

Goofs

In one of the opening scenes when Marsha Mason's character is leaving the "Betty Ford Clinic" of the time, there is an employee, Sandy, who passes her by the stairs says good-bye but addresses her as Mrs. Simon instead Mrs. Hines the character's real name. See more »

Quotes

Georgia: Let me sleep on the sofa. I love sleeping on the sofa. Beds are too big when you're alone.
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Connections

Version of Drobecky z perníku (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

MACHINE GUN
Performed by Storm
Courtesy of MCA RECORDS
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User Reviews

 
Mason's Finest Hour
30 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Much has been written over the years regarding the 'one-note" performances of Marsha Mason. Four of these "one-note" performances earned Mason Oscar nominations and IMO this is the best of those four. ONLY WHEN I LAUGH is Neil Simon's big screen re-working of his own play THE GINGERBREAD LADY. Marsha Mason plays Georgia Hines, an actress recently released from rehab, trying to get her career going again, trying to re-establish a relationship with her daughter (Kristy McNichol) and trying to stay sober and not really doing a great job with any of them. Mason hits all the right notes here and makes Georgia a flawed and realistic human being. Some of Mason's best moments involve no dialogue at all...there is a wonderful scene about 2/3 of the way through the film where an on-the-edge Georgia is walking the streets of Manhattan around dusk and it seem like every other storefront she passes is a bar. She then stops at an interior pay phone to call her doctor from rehab; however, he is not present and Georgia doesn't want to talk to the doctor who does answer the phone. This scene is extremely well-played by Mason and I think it's the scene that probably nailed the Oscar nomination for her. Kristy McNichol charms, as always, as Polly, Georgia's self-sufficient daughter who still yearns to be Mommie's little girl sometimes. James Coco and Joan Hackett also deliver Oscar nominated performances as Georgia's best friends, Jimmy, an unemployed actor and Toby, a vain, society beauty trying to cope with the fact that her best years have passed her by. Hackett is particularly impressive as the fading beauty whose fragile ego doesn't keep her from kicking Georgia in the ass when she needs it. Though Simon definitely has stronger screenplays under his belt, ONLY WHEN I LAUGH is worth seeing if for no other reason, the strong performances by the four leads, three of which earned Oscar nominations.


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