Renata Bella feels like a failure at life and career. But when Renata attends a seminar on selling real estate, she finally finds True Love. Sam Sharpe, while a top-notch, successful ...
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Renata Bella feels like a failure at life and career. But when Renata attends a seminar on selling real estate, she finally finds True Love. Sam Sharpe, while a top-notch, successful salesman, is much older than Renata. She is swept away by his excessively flamboyant style and irrepressible nature. The very traits she finds romantic, however, lead to repeated conflict with her family, especially her beloved father Joe, leaving Renata trapped in the middle. Written by
In several scenes (frozen pants hanging on the laundry line, skating on a lake that's frozen solid) we see deciduous trees with green leaves plus green grass once it's supposedly winter in the Boston area. Also, in several "winter" scenes, we don't see anyone's breath in the cold air. See more »
An extremely well-crafted script developing a wide range of individual psychologies within an extended family, together with good casting and acting make this an exceptional film. None of the characters is, to my taste, naturally attractive or charismatic, but as personalities striving to maintain stability in their lives, they are fascinating and fuel a continual dramatic tension.
Dreyfuss plays the most enigmatic character, the one "tearing apart" the family, and so has the central role, but his past remains a mystery. When we first encounter him he is alone, a man in his sixties perhaps, staring out over the sea, with behind him a divorce only recently finalized. He delivers a materialistic and self-gratifying speech, with horrifically inappropriate humor, to a flock of aspiring condominium salespeople and proceeds to "fall in love" and quickly marry the immature "baby" member of the film's subject family. But behind his frequently obnoxious salesman's rhetoric and showy possessions, just who is he, and what are his motives? Why did his prior marriage fail? What scars does he bear from the 40s, when he was born in Lithuania and somehow escaped with at least his mother for the States? While looking out over the sea was he contemplating suicide? Was suicide in his mind when he met the simpleton girl on a rooftop with no guard rail and opted to grab on to her for help? His background is eclipsed behind the family's bourgeois Italian-American heritage, as though only Italian ethos can matter, or can be stylishly accepted - so he's given little opportunity to explain. Otherwise, the emptiness and tactlessness of his impromptu speeches seem to underscore an ingrained sense of the absurd and perhaps of despair.
Dreyfuss' character has large gaps, gaping scars - like the ragged edges of a piece of a puzzle, a piece that fits perfectly into the poorly developed, ragged edges of the family's youngest and otherwise socially inept and professionally helpless daughter. Together they form a whole - not necessarily people we'd like to know or befriend, but - but they drive the film to a dramatic climax.
As said, this film develops the characters of a extended family - not just the two above. This is a film well worth seeing and thinking about - and it seemed to me, just off and on (and in some close-ups) a little Swedish in its sensitivity.
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