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Just the Way You Are (1984)

Susan is a young, beautiful and successful flute player, but because of her physical handicap, a lame leg, she is having difficulties finding Mr. Right. While on tour in France, she decides... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Susan Berlanger
Peter Nichols
Kaki Hunter ...
Lisa Elliott
Francois Rossignol
Catherine Salviat ...
Nicole Schallon
Sam Carpenter
Jack the Answering Service Guy
Frank Bantam (as Timothy Daly)
Steve Haslachez
Desk Clerk, Hotel Monte Blanc
André Oumansky ...
Paris Doctor
Billy Kearns ...
Earl Cooper, Frank's Boss
Joyce Gordon ...
Answering Service Lady
Theater Assistant Manager


Susan is a young, beautiful and successful flute player, but because of her physical handicap, a lame leg, she is having difficulties finding Mr. Right. While on tour in France, she decides to spend a few days on a ski resort wearing a fake cast around her lame leg to make sure her handicap goes unnoticed. Once arrived, she meets Peter, a handsome photographer... Written by Homme A. Piest <piest@pobox.leidenuniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Music | Romance


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 November 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Won't Dance  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Filming was delayed for a full year after star 'Kristy Mcnichol' developed a "chemical imbalance" and could not continue filming. She recovered in just two weeks, but the snowy second half of the film required waiting until next winter to shoot it. See more »


After getting paint on the back of his overcoat carrying Susan Berlanger up the stairs, Sam Carpenter returns to the cab without any paint on his overcoat. See more »


References The Kid (1921) See more »


My Ride
Written by Ish Ledesma
Performed by OXO
See more »

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User Reviews

Fun, but slightly flawed, movie
6 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Given the title, I expected a little more in common with the Billy Joel song of the same name. But while the heroine at one points tells her soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend that he'll find someone to love him just the way he is, her own discovery of that fact is somewhat unclear.

Susan Berlanger (Kristi McNichol) is a pretty, talented flautist, who, unfortunately wears a leg brace. Because her disability is visible, Susan is always treated differently, to the point where she begins to feel that people don't see her, they just see her disability. This is also why her love life has been a disaster. She is all set to marry her gay friend, Frank (Tim Daly), in order to help him hide his sexuality to get ahead in business, but decides not to when she realizes that the marriage won't meet her - or his - sexual needs. After she and her best friend, Lisa (Kaki Hunter) experience a series of disastrous relationships, Susan gets booked on a European tour. While in France, Susan hits upon an idea to find out how people will react if they don't know she is disabled - hide the disability. So, she gets a doctor to put a cast on her bad leg, and heads off to a ski resort. Once there, she meets an assortment of colorful characters: Nicole (Catherine Salviat), a single woman having an affair with a married man who stands her up so that she and Susan have to share a room; Francois Rossignol (Andre Dussollier), a former skier who lost a leg; Peter Nichols (Michael Ontkean), a handsome professional photographer there to shoot a ski competition; and Bobbie (Alexandra Paul), Peter's insufferable girlfriend. As Susan's vacation progresses, she does all kinds of things she's never done before, including winning a ski race. Peter's growing attraction to Susan causes his relationship with Bobbie to break up. And while the feelings are mutual, Susan begins to feel uneasy that she is deceiving Peter, but can't figure out how to tell him about her disability. Will she, or will they part without Peter ever knowing?

The premise is intriguing, in that the only way Susan can find out how people will feel about her is by hiding her disability. And yet, once she does that, at some point, she will have to come clean about it. Unfortunately, her revelation is done in such an anticlimactic way, that the viewer is left unsure what, if anything, she has learned as a result of her stay at the ski resort. Also, the movie has a disjointed feel to it, leaving the viewer wondering what Susan's bad relationships in America had to do with her adventures in France. Fortunately, the film moves along at a good pace, the action is fun, and the characters are likable, so you don't care too much that it doesn't have the depth it could. But it did leave me wondering how much better it could have been had the writers decided to explore more of Susan's self discovery.

The acting, overall, was good. McNichol never fails to give a pleasant performance, and she makes Susan likable in spite of her shortcomings. Her injection of humor into Susan's situation is exceptionally well done. Ontkean makes a wonderful leading man, playing Peter as someone who definitely looks beneath the surface and who is far more interested in what he finds there. Salviat and Dussollier are delightful as people with distinctly European sensibilities, who completely confuse Susan. Hunter does a nice job with Lisa, giving us a woman who knows her shortcomings, and has learned to live with them. The only weak performance was Alexandra Paul as Bobbie, who was so one dimensional that it was painful. While Bobbie was indeed shallow and self absorbed, a good portrayal of her would have given the viewer some sympathy for her losing her man. Paul's performance makes you want to applaud as she stamps off after throwing her final tantrum. The rest of the supporting cast does a good job of keeping things light.

Visually, it's a lovely film, especially the ski resort, which has an air of leisure and celebration completely appropriate to the action taking place there.

Overall, this is a fun film, and a very enjoyable one, but it still leaves the nagging question of how much better it could have been had it paused to do a little more exploration of Susan's self discovery, and shown you that she was indeed lovable just the way she was.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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