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Irreconcilable Differences
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Reviews & Ratings for
Irreconcilable Differences More at IMDbPro »

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18 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Adorable and charming (at first)

Author: vchimpanzee
29 August 2004

The movie starts with a lawyer telling his client what it means to divorce. Then we find out his client is a precocious little girl.

In the courtroom, the girl's parents begin telling their story, which we see though flashbacks. Albert is hitchhiking across the country, and Lucy is taking her boyfriend's car to him, and refuses to stop but instead splashes mud all over Albert. Later Albert is freezing and wet and Lucy feels sorry for him ...

The movie is mostly a comedy as Albert and Lucy get to know each other and have a number of misadventures. But Albert, who has a new job as a film professor at UCLA, really wants to direct, and as he makes the contacts that will allow this to happen, he and Lucy see Hollywood life and hope that won't happen to them. Unfortunately ...

I liked the movie best when it was a lighthearted comedy. But something had to happen to make Casey want to 'divorce' her parents. Some of it was funny, and some hard to watch. Eventually, whenever the movie would take a dramatic turn, it would recover. And the ending was happy, in a way.

Shelley Long and Ryan O'Neal did a great job, and Long went through a number of character changes. Lucy started out adorable and perky but later became disillusioned and bitter. Then she became a confident ... witch (or something that rhymes, anyway).

Drew Barrymore was wonderful for a child. I saw a lot of good acting performances, and it would be hard to list them all. Sharon Stone was good as Blake Chandler, a bubblehead who for some odd reason became a star with Albert's help. Blake later showed more dimension to her character, displaying a warm side at one point and later a spoiled side as she expected star treatment. Another good performance came from the actress playing the housekeeper/nanny who apparently spent the most time with Casey. Not a lot of lines, but the character's professionalism and warmth came through.

It was a worthwhile movie.

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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding love story

10/10
Author: (timtindy) from United States
31 January 2002

Irreconcilable Differences is one of the best movies of the 80s and quite possibly the most underrated love story ever made. For whatever reason, audiences chose to ignore this well-written and well-acted gem in 1984. I think it may have been due to the marketing campaign -- they tried to sell it as a cutesy gimmick movie where a precocious child "divorces" her parents. But that isn't what this movie is about at all. This movie is able to provide strong commentary about failed relationships, especially when egos, power, and greed substitute for the things that should really matter in a person's life. In addition, it creates a viable love story that doesn't resort to typical Hollywood formulas when it creates the conflicts that may or may not separate these two people who we know belong with each other. We the audience get to see them actually fall in love on the screen before our very eyes. You would think this should be fairly standard, but how many movies can you recall (especially recently) that you can say that about? This is done through great acting, writing, and directing. Notice how Shelley Long's voice changes over the years as she goes through the various changes in her life. Watch Ryan O'Neal's eyes toward the end as you can actually see an inner peace that he never had earlier.

These are just a few of the great things I loved about this great, heartwarming, and underappreciated film. If you want a great love story with some very good comic and dramatic moments as well, rent this movie! You won't regret it.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A good look at family vs. career.

Author: Walter Frith from Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA
15 March 1999

Ryan O'Neal and Shelley Long are perfectly matched in this movie about a couple in a marriage that falls apart due to family vs. career. An eight year old Drew Barrymore is very impressive as a child who attempts to divorce her parents because they neglect her. Thrown in for good measure is an intrepid look at the movie business and an early vixen like performance from Sharon Stone as the home wrecker.

This film is very balanced in its look at all the subjects involved. A very under rated movie that contains some acute observations about life's priorities (or lack of them).

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Underrated

9/10
Author: chris
31 May 2002

I didn't know anything about this movie before watching it, except that Drew Barrymore divorces her parents. I think that could be why I found the movie so surprising. But the movie has so many elements that make it one of the strongest films of its type. It's completely engrossing, showing realistically how a marriage can go from highs to lows and that each party can be responsible. It also shows how selfish parents can be and how without realising it they can screw with a child (drew). After watching this film I came to IMDB to see if shelley long or ryan o'neal had won oscars for their performances and if the film won best picture, but apparently it was shunned and not many people have seen it....at least there's cable. It looked like a lot of effort went into making the movie, so it's a shame it's been overlooked.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Good comedy/melodrama with a unique twist; the self-parody of the movie industry is often ingenious.

6/10
Author: Robert Armstrong from Chicago IL, United States
15 January 2000

Drew pretty much steals the show as the deadpan "reasoner"

character: a child coping in the midst of two selfish,

immature adults. I'd compare her to Tatum O'Neal in Paper

Moon or Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird for the way

she anchors the audience's perspective as the madness (competently related here by Ryan and Shelley) spins around her.

The real comedy lies in the "screwball" plot twist to which the film's title refers (we learn, early in the plot, that it is little Drew's character, not the parents, who is suing for divorce), and especially the story's underlying satire of the entertainment industry. Highlights include how Albert/Ryan's plummeting career as a director parodies those of Cimino (dust, smoke and flies a la Heaven's Gate) and Bogdanovich (starring untalented girlfriend in multi-million-dollar flops). An Andy Warhol style painting of Shelly Long as Marilyn in the background of one scene is just too funny, an example of how understated the true humor can be in this otherwise broadly-played farce.

Some points are disturbing, though: it's made a joke that Ryan is having an anxiety attack instead of a heart attack (try having one), or that his visitation rights are threatened if he doesn't make child support payments (an interesting social comment). Considering the real-life ups and downs of Ryan O'Neal's and Shelly Long's careers, however, I'd say the film's a roaring success.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

One of the best movies Ryan ONeil ever made!

10/10
Author: dal_asher from United States
8 February 2007

I originally saw this movie in 1985 with my kids and of course, we loved it! We were living in India at the time and videos were our only link to American culture. Fortunatley we had a copy (no comment). We probably saw it 30 or 40 times over the years. When Blake starts singing during the scene in the Gone With The Wind take off, Atlanta, I have tears rolling down my cheeks. Later in the film you see the heartbreaking reality of many a child's life growing up in Hollywood. Money aplenty but no quality time with family. The premise is so sad and Drew Barrymore is so poignant - truly showed what a talented kid she was and sadly she seems to have been living very much the same way her character was in the film. Finally, I too, would join in campaign to get this out on DVD! Why hasn't it been released? Could it be the heights to which Sharon Stone rose on the stardom scale? Who knows but if you ever have a chance to see this movie, clear your schedule and sit down and watch it.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Tough on Hollywood

8/10
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
24 May 2001

Say what you will about the Shyer-Meyers team ("Private Benjamin", "Father Of The Bride", "Baby Boom"), they know how to craft a movie, often exploiting every ounce of sentiment from their scripts. "Irreconcilable Differences" is somewhat of a departure for them however, a depiction of neurotic movie people, denizens of Hollywood, who have hardly any good points. As soon as the young couple finds success, it's a rich road downhill. The plot set-up has youngster Drew Barrymore trying to emancipate herself away from her famous mom and dad, and the H-Wood high-life is shown as both cause and effect. A terrific sequence involving Sharon Stone in a quasi-musical version of "Gone With The Wind" is satiric comic genius, yet the movie is so hard on its players, so brittle and tough, it's difficult to shake off the bad vibes even as the third act winds down to a sunny conclusion. Perceptively, the screenplay includes many awful (and awfully funny) truths about marriage, money and careers, but the cynical undermining of the picture may put fluff-oriented viewers off. ***1/2 from ****

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Well performed comedy/drama

8/10
Author: jhaggardjr from Chicago, Illinois
18 November 2001

"Irreconcilable Differences" is a very good seriocomedy about a Hollywood couple who are sued for divorce by their 9 year-old daughter. Ryan O'Neal, Shelley Long, and Drew Barrymore are well cast as the family torn apart by career, jealousy, and a little girl caught in the middle who just can't take it anymore with her parents' constant fighting. So as a result, she takes them to court, and the three members of the family tell their story (shown in flashback). Directed by Charles Shyer from a screenplay by Shyer and Nancy Meyers, "Irreconcilable Differences" shows us what its like to be in the Hollywood film industry which is fascinatingly detailed here. One hilarious scene is the part when acclaimed film director O'Neal is shooting a movie which appears to be a musical remake of "Gone With The Wind". A very young Sharon Stone stars as the actress playing the character modeled after Scarlett O'Hara. I was cracking up during that scene because it's naturally funny. But there are touching moments too, especially the early scenes when the O'Neal and Long characters first meet. Plus the scenes after they have their daughter are sweet and tender. "Irreconcilable Differences" is an underrated movie that deserved more attention than it received when released in 1984. It's a well-acted, well-written film.

*** (out of four)

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Everyone understands.

10/10
Author: Alyssa Sloane from London, England
28 January 2001

This is a movie that everyone can understand. It explains my, as am I certain, many different parts of people's childhoods. It is worth watching because it shows how adults affect the world. Please, if you are a parent, watch this movie so that you can understand how important you are to your child. This move shows how a parent can mold the child, and vice versas.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

underrated movie

8/10
Author: siriusslayer from ny
18 September 2003



this is a great movie, full of humor and good performances. being that it is allegedly based on Peter Bogdonavich and his divorce, and his relationship with Cybill Shephard (Blake Chandler), it is quite insightful. but it doesn't settle for letting Shelly Long play only the victim. most of all, it shows the tale of probably a hundred children spawned by Hollywood "IT" couples. unfortunately, most of Hollywood probably never had to listen to their child's testimony in a court case. maybe they should.

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