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In 1942 in the Bronx, Evelyn Kurnitz has just passed away following a lengthy illness. Her husband, Eddie Kurnitz, needs to take a job as a traveling salesman to pay off the medical bills incurred, and decides to ask his stern and straight talking mother, from who he is slightly estranged, if his two early-teen sons, Jay and Arty (who their Grandma call by their full given names, Yakob and Arthur), can live with her and their Aunt Bella Kurnitz in Yonkers. She reluctantly agrees after a threat by Bella. Despite their Grandma owning and operating a candy store, Jay and Arty don't like their new living situation as they're afraid of their Grandma, and find it difficult to relate to their crazy Aunt Bella, whose slow mental state is manifested by perpetual excitability and a short attention span, which outwardly comes across as a childlike demeanor. Into their collective lives returns one of Eddie and Bella's other siblings, Louie Kurnitz, a henchman for some gangsters. He is hiding out ... Written by
Irene Worth won the 1991 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actress in a Drama for "Lost in Yonkers" and recreated her role in the movie. See more »
Early in the movie when Bella is crossing the street, the movie marquee in the background has the name "Bijou" in the changeable part where the movie titles would/are displayed but above, where the real name of the theater is displayed vertically, it clearly ends in the letter "Y". See more »
I've lost count of how many times I've seen this movie. It's one of my favorites, and I know I'll return to it again and again, especially when I feel the need to "feel something." The story is ostensibly about the adventures of two young boys left in the care of their hostile grandmother who owns a candy store and their run-ins with their gangster-uncle and their allegedly mentally challenged Aunt Bella. But for me, childlike Aunt Bella, brilliantly portrayed by Mercedes Ruehl, really steals the show. In spite of her reputation for being dim-witted, she displays an extraordinary depth of perception regarding the motivations of the other characters and the emotional courage to accept them with all their limitations. One of the most poignant moments in the movie for me is where the grandmother, who has suffered so much loss in her life, and prides herself on never having shed a tear in spite of all this loss, finally has the chance to be vulnerable. Does she take the chance? You'll have to watch the movie to find out!
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