This is a powerful film about how the lusts of the modern world give one an empty feeling. I watched this movie for two main reasons: my respect for the prose of John Steinbeck and the acting skill of Donald Sutherland. Sutherland made this film about 3 years after starring in the Best Picture winner ORDINARY PEOPLE. In ways, his two characters are similar, a suburbanite who can't stave off tragedy with financial success. Teri Garr gives an equally effective performance as his wife. As much as I admire Donald Sutherland, I'd have to say my favourite actor in this film is Richard Masur. He plays the mentally handicapped neighbour of Sutherland and Garr who has been forced to live on his own by his rich family. He has all the toys a person could want but still he's unhappy. The movie's theme of misunderstanding the mentally handicapped is common in Steinbeck stories (Lennie in OF MICE AND MEN and Noah in THE GRAPES OF WRATH). However, the setting seems to be atypical for John Steinbeck. Most of his stories are set in Great Depression rural area. So, to have one set in a modern, urban setting is a bit unsettling. All and all, this is a very memorable film with a very able cast of characters.
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