As those unimaginatively styled credits reminiscent of hundreds of made for television movies begin to roll, your impulse may be to reach for the stop button. However, give this one a chance, not because it's especially clever or exceptionally well written, but simply for the terrific performances by Ellen Burstyn and Tuesday Weld, as well as Eli Wallach in a supporting role. In lesser hands, this would have been yet another forgettable romantic comedy.
Glenn Jordan, the veteran director of many television movies, must be a man of persuasive powers. The material, while far from brilliant, does not fall to the level that many other movies of this genre so often do. Despite this, the actors all seem to be enjoying their roles immensely.
Ellen Burstyn, whose trademark is that of playing emotionally overwrought characters, displays genuine comic flair as the middle aged widow whose life becomes derailed by her overly protected son's affair with a woman just a few years younger than herself. Tuesday Weld, still stunning at age 42 makes this plot totally plausible.
Hollywood has its fair share of intelligent actresses and obviously there's never been a shortage of those who have made it to the screen by virtue of their looks. But there are so few who possess both these qualities. This rare combination should have placed Weld in the top ranks of screen actresses with roles suited to her talents. This of course, did not happen.
Her screen performances have been comprised of consistently subtle and nuanced portrayals, despite the often mediocre projects she has been involved in. There are few actresses who listen as well as her. Watching her listening to her partner's dialog one senses what's going on in her mind. It's an acting skill few have mastered.
It's somewhat sad that her talents found expression in light weight material such as "Something in Common" but Weld alone makes this one worthwhile.
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