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It's been almost 20 years and there hasn't been another film like Desperately Seeking Susan. At times, the movie feels like French New Wave with its characters and storyline. Even the setting of the crude but artistic background of New York City, the movie lets off an emotion of fantasy. The cast which includes Rosanna Arquette, Aidan Quinn, John Turturro and Madonna create a story like no other. Madonna is both the eye candy and the punch lines as Arquette gives her best leading lady qualities. It's hard to believe that this movie cost less than 5 million dollars to make. A true coming of age drama with moments of comedy and struggle, Desperately Seeking Susan falls under many genres of film. The independent style and its outrageous subject matter makes this an interesting and timeless film. Even though it is full of 80's moments with the clothing and music, the movie is one of Madonna's and Arquette's best.
Desperately Seeking Susan is one of those titles in a catalogue of
definitive 80s movies. It is a fantastic little caper directed by the
fantastic Susan Seidleman, and unfortuantely, was one movie that got pitched
around a long time before someone finally picked it up.
Susan (played terrifically by Madonna in her pre-burnout years) is a sassy, flaky, and often witty young woman who's always looking for a good time, even when danger is afoot. Enter Roberta Glass (Rosanna Arquette) who could practically be her alter ego as she is everything Susan is not. She is shy and judicious and stuck in a boring marriage, looking for an escape. She is everything Susan is not, and wants to be everything that Susan is. And she will get her chance.
Roberta reads the personal ads frequently because that is how wordly traveller Susan reaches her boyfriend, Jimmy (Robert Joy). They place ads saying hello and telling each where to meet. Roberta is going to tag along when Susan posts a new ad telling Jimmy to meet her in battery park. This is where Roberta takes an interest in Susan, but not that in single white female kind of way, despite the sudden mix up that arises out of all of this. She follows Susan around the city and so forth.
Someone else is following Susan, too. A murderer (Patton) looking for a very expensive earring that was stolen from a museum. He is after Susan because he knows she has the earring. But, after an accident at the park and Roberta winding up with amnesia, the murderer is after the wrong Susan. With the help of Jim's friend Dez (Quinn), Roberta slowly has to figure out who she is, otherwise the murderer is going to kill her, thinking she has the find. In the meantime, Susan teams up with Roberta's totally idiotic husband, Gary (Mark Blum) to find out Roberta's whereabouts. Roberta is going to get exactly what she wanted: a little fun, a little adventure, and a little escape, that will have her rethinking her own course.
Desperately Seeking Susan is really a fun movie that takes place in New York City. Everybody in it, even Mark Blum as the obnoxious Gary Glass and Laurie Metcalf as his compulsive and mistrusting sister, Leslie. Rosanna Arquette is great in nearly everything I've seen her in for her 80s career of movies, and works perfectly as Roberta in her romance with Dez (Quinn). And, it is one of the few things that I actually like Madonna in. They tried to recreate her Susan image (and story) for the movie, Who's That Girl (with Griffin Dunne), but it just couldn't work as perfectly as it did here. Seidleman and writer Leora Barish did some good work in producing a fun film.
By the way, if you're ever in Greenwhich Village, 'Love Saves the Day' (the second hand clothing store that Susan goes into to buy boots) still exists. However, they mostly sell retro novelty toys.
I fear I may be going against the grain here...
"Desperately Seeking Susan" was certainly inventive, original, and oftentimes fun. The acting was actually decent, even from Madonna (whose acting has won her 6 Razzies). However, I think the movie suffers from being labelled a comedy. While a couple lines brought a smile or a chuckle, I rarely laughed throughout this movie. Not that there were jokes that didn't work; I couldn't tell what was even supposed to be funny! The whole situation was amusing, but I wouldn't call it laugh-out-loud funny. Eh, whatever. I'd still recommend it.
This movie has 5 great things going for it: Madonna, Rosanna Arquette, the soundtrack, shot in 1984 and in New York City. Arquette plays Roberta Glass, a bored and ignored housewife who is obsessed with a couple she reads about in the personals, Jim and Susan. Roberta reads that Jim and Susan will meet at Battery Park the following day, and goes down to watch the two. As Jim and Susan part again for a few days, Roberta decides to follow Susan (Madonna) though the streets and into a clothing store, where Susan trades the store-owner her pyramid jacket for some rhinestone boots. When Susan leaves, Roberta buys the jacket, goes home and finds a key in one of the pockets. Roberta then puts an ad in the paper for Susan to meet her at Battery Park to pick up the key she left in the jacket. As Susan gets to the park, she is arrested for short-changing the cab driver, just as a thug who is after Susan mistakes Roberta for her. Roberta knocks herself out cold accidentally and wakes up believing she is Susan. The rest of the film is non-stop comedic confusion and madness, played out by some great talents including Laurie Metcalf as Roberta's sister-in-law, Leslie, and Aidan Quinn, Robert Joy and Mark Blum as the hapless unfortunate love interests of our heroines. Directed by Susan Seidelman ("Smithereens"). Highly recommended.
yay! madonna actually does have one good movie! (and yes, we are
talking about this one.) she plays susan, who is the definition of a
free-spirit. and rosanna arquette is just as delightful as she always
is, and frankly i would expect nothing less.
the soundtrack is an 80s gem. madonna's song "into the grove" is proudly featured and really sets the mood in the club scene. and the 80s fashion provides such an effective blast from the past that one really finds himself back in 1985.
this was overall a really good movie. it was fun and the characters were likable. i recommend that you rent it for an evening in with the friends.
Desperately Seeking Susan (1985 Dir. Susan Seidelman)
"Chicks" love this movie for the feminist, take charge of your life point
view, while guys enjoy this movie cuz there are plenty of bra shots.
in her first starring (supporting really) role as a street-smart hustler
being chased by some small time hoods. Rosanna Arquette gets mistaken for
the Madonna character and therein lies the plot of this oh so '80s
Set in summer in Manhattan, the movie preserves like a time capsule so much of the decade: the hair, the clothes, the music. And of course there's Madonna clanking her balls from start to finish. Ms. Arquette (in the supposed starring role) had the movie not merely stolen, but ripped out of her hands by the unstoppable force of the 80s: Madonna!
Desperately Seeking Susan (Susan Seidelman, 1985) is an appealing,
unconventional film about a shy, put-upon young married woman (Rosanna
Arquette) who swaps places with a free-spirited man-eater (Madonna)
after a bump on the head. A dated dramatic device, perhaps, but it's
such a sweet, sassy and otherwise well-plotted affair we'll let it
slide. The film inhabits a similar universe - and employs the same neon
aesthetic - as Scorsese's ever-underrated comedy After Hours, but this
is an altogether gentler affair. Sure it plunges its heroine into a
seedy world dominated by shady, peroxide hit men and amorous conjurors,
but it's in many ways preferable to the yuppie nightmare she's been
living with all-time idiot-hole Mark Blum. At least here she's got love
on her side, courtesy of kind-hearted Aidan Quinn (the psychotic
drug-addled baddie in the Richard Dreyfuss-Emilio Estevez buddy movie
Stakeout). Arquette, who played the lead in the classic John Sayles
romcom Baby, It's You, is perfect as the doormat desperately seeking
excitement, and while Madonna isn't a great actress, she's both hugely
charismatic and ideally cast as the manipulative, posing, sex-obsessed
Susan. Also look out for John Turturro in an early role as a nightclub
compere. A little gem from out of left-field, this one, with an
engaging storyline, memorable characters and a disarmingly peculiar
sense of humour.
Trivia note: The new Madonna song on the soundtrack is Into the Groove. Not one of her best singles of the period, but still pretty damn decent.
A wonderful film all around, with good acting, and great humor. This movie is most certainly not serious, but it is great fun to watch, and one of the few movies I have enjoyed seeing multiple times. Madonna is quite good, playing a character similar to her public persona. Aidan Quinn and Rosanna Arquette are also terrific. Even the soundtrack is well done.
This was THE defining movie of my coming-to-teenage years. I saw a rerun on TV the other night and I still knew all the lines by heart. Thank God for this little gem of a movie, in all its silliness. It takes me back to a time when everything was still possible, and I thought I knew everything although I really knew nothing. Well, now that I know, not everything but a great deal, I still find this movie really likable. It's strange that it's so old, and it still feels quite fresh and exciting. Maybe it's the New York atmosphere, or the sense of excitement that Madonna brings to every one of her scenes. I think she's good in this film because she doesn't yet take herself too seriously and isn't trying too hard. She is a natural performer, after all. How else could you solve the mystery of "the one good movie Madonna ever made"?
Everybody is "Desperately Seeking Susan," but nobody realizes they're
not looking for the same person in this 1985 quirky comedy starring
Roseanna Arquette, Madonna, Aidan Quinn, and Laurie Metcalf. The film
was directed by Susan Seidelman from a script by Leora Barish.
In this very clever story, Roberta (Arquette) is a bored housewife with a rich fantasy life who envies a woman named Susan (Madonna). Susan's boyfriend is always leaving her notes in the personals column about where to meet. Before long, Roberta is showing up at the meeting places and actually starts stalking Susan. When Susan pays for a pair of boots that she wants with her unique leather jacket, Roberta buys it and starts wearing it. All this could have been harmless fun except for three things: 1) Susan is a con artist, and she's stolen Egyptian artifacts she mistook for earrings from a guy in Atlantic City, who ended up dead at the bottom of his hotel; 2) Susan was seen (from the back) wearing her jacket in the hallway of the hotel by a mobster who wants the artifacts; and 3) Roberta is in an accident, and when she wakes up, she has amnesia. A friend (Aidan Quinn) of Susan's boyfriend who came to the meeting place to check on the real Susan as a favor thinks Roberta is Susan.
This is such a fun movie, with much of the comedy being in the situation rather than in the dialogue. Not only that, it's totally '80s, right down to Madonna's leggings, and brought back a lot of great memories.
The acting is very good, and one wonders why Madonna didn't continue in this vein rather than trying to become a great dramatic actress. She's perfect in this off-beat role as well as being beautiful, exotic, trashy, and sexy. She also would have been excellent as Roxy in "Chicago" if the film had been made back in the '70s, when it was originally supposed to be done. She might then have had a very interesting film career.
Though "Desperately Seeking Susan" was made 23 years ago, Roseanna Arquette hasn't changed much. She's excellent as the quiet, dying to be free, fantasy-driven Roberta. Aidan Quinn gives his usual good performance as a poor sap over his head. He doesn't know how lucky he is - he could have gotten involved with the real Susan! Highly recommended, especially if you were a young adult in the '80s.
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