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Reuben, Reuben
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Reviews & Ratings for
Reuben, Reuben More at IMDbPro »

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24 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

The most underrated film of our time- pure genius.

Author: Melissa Jeswald Dec from Boston, MA
2 April 2005

Tom Conti,(who was nominated for an Oscar for this role as Gowan Mcland), gives one of the most brilliant acting performances I have ever seen. I was looking forward to more meaty roles from this great actor, but he seems to have disappeared, leaving this film as his greatest legacy. His character is a genius who is out of control, but Conti's talent depicts his situation as comic and tragic at the same time-no small feat-- while being absolutely sympathetic. To today's audiences, the pace may seen slow, but all is redeemed by the ending. This has by far the best ending of any motion picture, ever. The fact that this film is not out on DVD is shameful. Interestingly, this is Kelly McGillis' "introducing" film; she was showcased and it was made clear that she was expected to be a great star. She does shine in this role. The more relevant social commentary is the portrayal of women, after they have lost that flush of young love, tend to become disillusioned. We are left wondering whether Geneva Spofford (McGillis' character) will become like the other sad society women around her. See this movie if you have the chance-it won't disappoint.

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20 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A genuinely funny and moving comic tragedy

Author: barfly99 ( from London, England
17 May 1999

On paper, a comic fable about a randy, drunken, fading poet sounds like a recipe for disaster, but to the enormous credit of all involved, this film works very well indeed. Obviously a strong central performance is essential in films like this, and Tom Conti provides just that as the bedraggled Scottish writer charming his way into the beds of frustrated New England wives. Although the screenplay is consistently witty from start to finish, it is mainly in the second half of the film that it is also extremely moving. The romance between Conti and Kelly McGillis's young student is as obviously doomed as that of Romeo and Juliet, but just as heartbreaking too. The denouement is as sad and shocking as any in cinematic history, yet this film with its warmth and beauty and insight will surely light a fire in even the coldest of hearts.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

One memorable scene after another

Author: Mark DuMond ( from Medford, Oregon
11 July 2000

This film is a delight from first frame to last. Tom Conti delivers an Oscar-worthy performance, and after seeing this movie you'll be wondering why you haven't seen more of him in the ensuing years. One memorable scene after another and some lines of dialogue which have been indelibly imprinted on my brain ever since. I had a hard time finding this film on tape. A shame that so many inferior movies can be had by the bushel, and gems like this get lost...

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15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

A Forgotten Gem from a Forgotten Time

Author: Sebastian (sts-26) from Canada
22 December 2008

If you are not familiar with movie history, then you do not know that thousands of films have been lost over time, from the silent era onwards. And many of these movies were landmarks, because they so perfectly captured a unique time or place, or because of technical achievements or great acting. Some lost movies were even blockbusters in their time but then began to seem dated and were quickly forgotten. Reuben, Reuben is an example of a relatively modern movie that is getting that age old treatment.

Tom Conti gives a brilliant performance in this movie, and the supporting cast is great. The screenplay and direction are brilliant. And the subject matter is meaty, something adults can think on and discuss seriously. So, why is this movie virtually unheard of now?

Reuben, Reuben is of its time - the early eighties - just before excessive style, slickness, and silly 50s-style moralism and hokeyness took hold. A number of brilliant movies were release in 1983 alone - Educating Rita, Local Hero, The Big Chill, Terms of Endearment. This was a period when story telling was paramount, and movies unfolded gently, with a respect for both real and theatrical time.

I have come to believe that many of these great movies are slowly being forgotten on some conscious level; we the viewing public does not want to remember the best, as it will make us realize the amount of dreck that is now released, and make us maudlin and mournful. This pleases the movie industry no end - it would prefer to have us come back again and again for sugary confections rather than supply us with something nutritious into which we can sink our teeth.

Hopefully, the Internet and sites like IMDb will help to promote near-forgotten gems like Reuben, Reuben, encouraging young movie fans to seek them out and then spread the word of their excellence. And, possibly, with growing recognition of really good cinema, the movie industry will not be so careless and neglectful.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Why is this rare jewel of tragic comedy lost?

Author: Thomas Kaplanek (
30 March 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Possible Spoilers. One of my decent prayers to our Lord: The day of resurrection of this lovable study on DVD cometh.I enjoyed it first some 13 years ago in Münster, Westfalia.Since then ,I have seen it probably 50 times or so.

It cares about the last short period of Scottish poet Gowan Mc Land`s life.He had a dismissal from a professorship of poetry and now unfortunately is condemned to earn money with celebrating his artwork in clubs of interested housewives, New England.The housewives, which are shown there, don`t have real ambitions with artistry or poetry;they hope it could be entertaining to watch a person, whose only purpose is to make weird things like poems.This becomes very clear at the end of one of Gowan`s public readings;no one in the audience becomes aware when the performance is over, except the artist himself;he has to give his "fans" permission to applause. That`s a main subjekt here.The span beetween Gowan`s art and the demandings of ordinary life are heavy to handle for him.But,God almighty, suddenly,at a point,an artist can be overwhelmed by the power of profanity ;when falling in love with a beautiful young student-Geneva. The comical grandeur of this flic is in the splendid deconstruction of bourgeois mainstream opinions and the securities of conventionalism.For example,McLand has an invitation to a restaurant; there he points out that it`s one of the great deficits of the "old" Europe(to evoke a term of our beloved Donald Rumsfeld),not to be able to overrule the cultural degeneration of the"new"world(USA)(!).Such provoking black jokes you are invited to enjoy one after another. I am in the mood to praise the handling of entire human problems in this underrated,forgotten and adorable genius stroke for ever, but judge for yourself.This is the stuff celluloid was made for.10 stars of 10.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:


Author: jonathan-577 from Canada
7 June 2007

This movie wasn't just written by Julius Epstein - as executive producer, and with another Epstein co-producing, he clearly midwifed it as well. So this would be a fairly unmediated labour of love from the man who penned Casablanca 40 years earlier, and damn if I don't like it better than Casablanca - if there's one thing I wanted to see it's a portrait of the lapsed poet as an old womanizing souse. Making him a Scot run amuck in New England is another great touch, gives the milieu a specificity you don't see every day. And that's not mentioning Tom Conti's very specific, and brilliant, performance - no wonder he never did anything comparable, he LIVES inside this thing. His hilarious portrayal of the sad-eyed loser Epstein has written him is the opposite of maudlin. As his doomed infatuation with young 'un Kelly McGillis approaches its inevitable demise, you wonder how on earth they are going to wrap things up - redemption would be corny, but despair would be hopeless and wrong. The answer he comes up with is a head-spinner, but it's also a perfect answer to this dilemma, and answers your lingering questions about the movie's name.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A rare gem

Author: Ikarus65 from Fremont, California
7 September 2002

This is one of my favorite movies of all times. It's funny, moving, tragic, hilarious, just all in one. Tom Conti gives a memorable world-class performance and the stunning beauty of Kelly Mc Gillis is a feast for the eyes. I wish this one-of-a-kind masterpiece were available on DVD.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Intrigues, Humors & Surprises

Author: George Attwood from Canada
20 October 2007

REUBEN, REUBEN ****1/2 Tom Conti's role--Gowan McGland, a philandering Scottish poet suffering from writer's block and a depression--is drinking away his fears and tears in wanting something more. He finds fulfillment, however, on one of his gallivanting book tours when he falls in love with a youthful, spirited college student named Geneva. The impressive turns from Conti, Kelly McGillis (debuting here as Gowan's girlfriend), and Roberts Blossom (as Geneva's grandfather) are a must-see, but it's Julius J. Epstein's screen writing that drives the picture. This film, which opened in New York with a bang but petered into obscurity extremely quickly, will intrigue, humor, and often surprise you. Rated R. 1983

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Great film

Author: rwtmoore from Boston
1 December 2008

This is a real gem of a movie from the early 80s. The script which is very funny and witty, expertly oscillates between comedy and tragedy. It reminds me of many great John Irving novels. Conti's performance as Gowan McGland, a washed up Scottish poet, is at the heart of this film. Conti's portrayal is so good that I can't think of anyone else doing it. We're charmed by this tragic and comic figure. Kelly McGillis also gives a good performance as the college student who gets mixed up with the world-renowned poet. The relationship is realistic and adult - they both know it will end. What they don't know is the shocking way in which it does end. It's a highly entertaining, thought-provoking and powerful classic. It's mind-boggling that it isn't available on DVD.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

A joyful experience

Author: nobody77 from IL, USA
13 July 2002

This movie has touched me deeply. The plot, the screenplay, the performances are all outstanding. It is a real pity that not many people have seen this masterpiece. It is a joyful experience and I highly recommend it.

So check it out...

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