I'm not quite sure why they decided to take the story of a very funny and joyful comic actress and suck all the joy out of her life and story. According to this adaptation of her autobiography, Gilda was a self-destructive person with low self-esteem who never had a happy moment. In fact, she had a lot of them, which she created herself. Her romance with Gene Wilder is presented as the only bright spot in her personal life, and even that is permeated with sadness. It's as if the producers decided that since she died of cancer, her whole life had to be a premonition of it. This makes for a screenplay that has basically one level. If they had allowed the story of her life to have happy moments along with the sad ones, the ending would have been a lot more poignant. You have to have light to contrast with the dark, but here it is all the same level, strangely gloomy.
We learn nothing of the other main characters, other than that Murray can be a jerk (is this a surprise?). In one overdone scene in particular, Gilda is persistently asking him about spending Christmas together (just before they are to go on to do a...yes, you guessed it...Christmas sketch, with Murray playing Jacob and Gilda playing Mary). Murray says something along the lines of "Will you please just BACK OFF???", then turns to one of the shows producers and huffs "I swear, this is the last time..."(the last time, what? Like he has a choice in whom to appear with on the show?). Then they go on like the pros that they are, to entertain their audience, despite their personal pain. This is called juxtaposition, you see, contrasting what's going on in front of the camera with what is behind, so you get a heightened sense of irony; did you get it? The scene is just as ham-fisted as I described it. The rest of the movie is as cliched and superficial as this moment, and the lead's very good performance is wasted. We keep waiting to learn a little more about the other cast members (the actor playing Garrett Morris is almost used as a prop) and we never do. I'm not quite sure why they had to produce such a dreadful script. A lot of effort went into the casting; it's almost as if they thought that was enough. Unfortunately, it's not, and the movie is painful to sit through. Gilda (and the actress who played her) deserved better.
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