7.2/10
3,932
48 user 24 critic

An Unmarried Woman (1978)

A wealthy woman from Manhattan's Upper East Side struggles to deal with her new identity and her sexuality after her husband of 16 years leaves her for a younger woman.

Director:

Paul Mazursky

Writer:

Paul Mazursky
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jill Clayburgh ... Erica
Alan Bates ... Saul Kaplan
Michael Murphy ... Martin
Cliff Gorman ... Charlie
Patricia Quinn ... Sue (as Pat Quinn)
Kelly Bishop ... Elaine
Lisa Lucas ... Patti
Linda Miller ... Jeannette
Andrew Duncan ... Bob
Daniel Seltzer Daniel Seltzer ... Dr. Jacobs
Matthew Arkin ... Phil
Penelope Russianoff Penelope Russianoff ... Tanya
Novella Nelson ... Jean
Raymond J. Barry ... Edward
Ivan Karp Ivan Karp ... Herb Rowan
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Storyline

Erica is unmarried only temporarily in that her successful, wealthy husband of seventeen years has just left her for a girl he met while buying a shirt in Bloomingdale's. The film shows Erica coming to terms with the break-up while revising her opinions of herself, redefining that self in its own right rather than as an extension of somebody else's personality, and finally going out with another man. Erica refuses to drop everything for Saul, an abstract expressionist painter, simply out of love for him because he expects her to. It is not so much loneliness that is her problem, and the problems that men, flitting around this newly "available" woman like moths round a flame, bring to her sense of independence. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She laughs, she cries, she feels angry, she feels lonely, she feels guilty, she makes breakfast, she makes love, she makes do, she is strong, she is weak, she is brave, she is scared, she is... an unmarried woman.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 May 1978 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Una mujer descasada See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$24,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of David Rasche in a small, uncredited role. See more »

Goofs

During Erica's second visit to Tanya, the plants behind Erica change places with each shot. For straight ahead shots of only Erica, the small cactus is on the right. In angled shots, showing both women, the small cactus is on the left. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Martin and Erica are jogging along the river]
Martin: Jesus Christ! Look at this - my sneaker's ruined!
Erica: They're only thirty-five dollars.
[Erica takes Martin's shoe and cleans it off for him]
Martin: Fucking city's turning into one big pile of DOG SHIT!
[shouting at passing traffic]
Martin: Come on out and take a crap on me - everybody else is. Fuck.
[Martin lights a cigarette]
Erica: ...been jogging for 2 1/2 miles - you're giving yourself lung cancer.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

For Betsy See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sex Is Crazy (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

An Unmarried Woman
Lyrics By Michelle Wiley
Arranged By Jerry Peters
Music composed by Bill Conti
Vocals by Michelle Wiley
© (p) 1978, 20th Century-Fox Record Corporation
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mazursky's penchant for the sublimely ridiculous gives the film a wafty comic undertone...
11 September 2005 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

An acting triumph for Jill Clayburgh, playing a N.Y.C. wife and mother whose husband tells her he's fallen in love with another woman. Brittle, biting, funny, and moving; a serious-comedy that benefits from a screenplay which is sometimes strangely over-the-top and yet nearly always on-track emotionally. In his determination to find The Truth about the American woman in the 1970s, writer-director Paul Mazursky gets a little kooky: Clayburgh's Erica throws up on the street after her husband confesses his affair; she later fends off the affections of both her doctor and a blind date (one of those guys who tries covering his bald scalp with overlong side hairs). She's also in therapy and her doctor turns out to be a lesbian (and we never see Erica in therapy again). The mother-daughter dynamics between Clayburgh and tough little nut Lisa Lucas are precise and believable; when Mom brings a man over for dinner, daughter feels defensive and gets mouthy. But the night ends playfully, with the ladies playing piano together and bonding over Paul McCartney! Alan Bates enters in the second-act as a burly, not-pushy artist who falls for Erica, yet she's not so sure. Why she's so reluctant to throw down her defenses for this man isn't made quite clear (playful, sexy Bates would be a godsend to any unattached woman). The film isn't necessarily logical, though it takes pride in being flaky and tart. There are big, passionate feelings in "An Unmarried Woman" and, instead of being some kind of emotional workout, it is surprisingly romantic (which ticked some feminists off, who wanted more than lightweight laughs). I enjoyed it, although it probably seems dated by today's standards. It certainly is peculiar, with Mazursky's penchant for outrageous dialogue punctuated by genuinely affecting emotions. *** from ****


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