Lily Tomlin won the 1986 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" by Jane Wagner and recreated her performance for this filmed production. The original production opened on September 26, 1985 at the Plymouth Theatre, and ran for 391 performances. See more »
This film is PURE GENIUS. It is a comedic intellectual orgasm. Do I really need to say more? No, but I will, this is a film of a one-woman show by Tomlin- In a strict film standard, it is easy to find flaws because it's a play and not a film- but I refuse to narrow it to such a confined attitude. This is not about rules of film, rules of reviewing filmed plays, this is about an experience, and as experiences go, it will bring you to heights unknown- you don't see this as much as it sees "you."
Tomlin makes you think, she makes you laugh, and she makes you human. I've never been exposed to anything quite like it.
The only real weakness I see is in structure- there is a long section dealing with feminism that appears out of place, but it is only out of place because all the other pieces are short and your mind is accustomed to the pace of the performances proceeding it- when a section comes out of nowhere being extended, your mind interferes with an awareness that this is being carried out longer than all the others and you wonder why- so your own thoughts intrude upon it- interrupting your enjoyment. It's not that the "feminist" part is any less brilliant- but it makes you separate it from the rest- which, in my view, is a misstep and a disservice to the entirety of the performance.
But that's a small mumble compared to what you get out of it. These words-this performance is what the word "art" was first imagined to mean. It's a masterpiece- one of the great works of art in the last thirty years- this will only build in reputation- it's a thinker's paradise- a cathedral of thought and perception- as clever as Voltaire and as meaningful as Rousseau. Your search has ended.
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