Eugene, a young teenage Jewish boy, recalls his memoirs of his time as an adolescent youth. He lives with his parents, his aunt, two cousins, and his brother, Stanley, whom he looks up to ... See full summary »
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Eugene, a young teenage Jewish boy, recalls his memoirs of his time as an adolescent youth. He lives with his parents, his aunt, two cousins, and his brother, Stanley, whom he looks up to and admires. He goes through the hardships of puberty, sexual fantasy, and living the life of a poor boy in a crowded house. Written by
Jason Ihle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A sweetly nostalgic look at Neil Simon's childhood...
BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS was the first of a trilogy of plays that Neil Simon wrote about his own life, renaming himself Eugene Morris Jerome. This play was a Broadway smash and made a star and Tony Award winner out of Matthew Broderick. When it was time to bring the play to the screen, Broderick was unavailable because he was back on Broadway in the second play of the trilogy, BILOXI BLUES, so Jonathan Silverman was pegged to star in the film version as Eugene, the slightly neurotic teen going through puberty and other realities of being a Jewish teen during WWII with the help of his loving family. Silverman makes a suitable replacement for Broderick and seems quite at ease speaking directly to the camera. I'm one of the few who really liked Blythe Danner as his strong willed mother...maybe the accent was a bit much, but Danner infuses the character with warmth and strength and Bob Dishy has one of his best roles as Eugene's father, a quiet tower of strength whose world weariness never allows him to neglect his family. Judith Ivey plays Danner's sister, a lonely woman whose lack of self-esteem seems to have stemmed from feeling she has lived in her sister's shadow her whole life and Brian Drillinger also scores as Stanley, Eugene's older brother, who loses his paycheck gambling and then loses his job and doesn't know how to tell Mom and Dad. Gene Saks directs with a loving, if loose hand and the film could have been more tightly paced, but the performances of Silverman, Danner, and Dishy made it worth my time.
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