Irreconcilable Differences (1984) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
31 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Adorable and charming (at first)
vchimpanzee29 August 2004
The movie starts with a lawyer telling his client what it means to divorce. Then we find out his client is a precocious little girl.

In the courtroom, the girl's parents begin telling their story, which we see though flashbacks. Albert is hitchhiking across the country, and Lucy is taking her boyfriend's car to him, and refuses to stop but instead splashes mud all over Albert. Later Albert is freezing and wet and Lucy feels sorry for him ...

The movie is mostly a comedy as Albert and Lucy get to know each other and have a number of misadventures. But Albert, who has a new job as a film professor at UCLA, really wants to direct, and as he makes the contacts that will allow this to happen, he and Lucy see Hollywood life and hope that won't happen to them. Unfortunately ...

I liked the movie best when it was a lighthearted comedy. But something had to happen to make Casey want to 'divorce' her parents. Some of it was funny, and some hard to watch. Eventually, whenever the movie would take a dramatic turn, it would recover. And the ending was happy, in a way.

Shelley Long and Ryan O'Neal did a great job, and Long went through a number of character changes. Lucy started out adorable and perky but later became disillusioned and bitter. Then she became a confident ... witch (or something that rhymes, anyway).

Drew Barrymore was wonderful for a child. I saw a lot of good acting performances, and it would be hard to list them all. Sharon Stone was good as Blake Chandler, a bubblehead who for some odd reason became a star with Albert's help. Blake later showed more dimension to her character, displaying a warm side at one point and later a spoiled side as she expected star treatment. Another good performance came from the actress playing the housekeeper/nanny who apparently spent the most time with Casey. Not a lot of lines, but the character's professionalism and warmth came through.

It was a worthwhile movie.
20 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Outstanding love story
timtindy31 January 2002
Irreconcilable Differences is one of the best movies of the 80s and quite possibly the most underrated love story ever made. For whatever reason, audiences chose to ignore this well-written and well-acted gem in 1984. I think it may have been due to the marketing campaign -- they tried to sell it as a cutesy gimmick movie where a precocious child "divorces" her parents. But that isn't what this movie is about at all. This movie is able to provide strong commentary about failed relationships, especially when egos, power, and greed substitute for the things that should really matter in a person's life. In addition, it creates a viable love story that doesn't resort to typical Hollywood formulas when it creates the conflicts that may or may not separate these two people who we know belong with each other. We the audience get to see them actually fall in love on the screen before our very eyes. You would think this should be fairly standard, but how many movies can you recall (especially recently) that you can say that about? This is done through great acting, writing, and directing. Notice how Shelley Long's voice changes over the years as she goes through the various changes in her life. Watch Ryan O'Neal's eyes toward the end as you can actually see an inner peace that he never had earlier.

These are just a few of the great things I loved about this great, heartwarming, and underappreciated film. If you want a great love story with some very good comic and dramatic moments as well, rent this movie! You won't regret it.
17 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Underrated
ctroed31 May 2002
I didn't know anything about this movie before watching it, except that Drew Barrymore divorces her parents. I think that could be why I found the movie so surprising. But the movie has so many elements that make it one of the strongest films of its type. It's completely engrossing, showing realistically how a marriage can go from highs to lows and that each party can be responsible. It also shows how selfish parents can be and how without realising it they can screw with a child (drew). After watching this film I came to IMDB to see if shelley long or ryan o'neal had won oscars for their performances and if the film won best picture, but apparently it was shunned and not many people have seen it....at least there's cable. It looked like a lot of effort went into making the movie, so it's a shame it's been overlooked.
10 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
A good look at family vs. career.
WalterFrith15 March 1999
Ryan O'Neal and Shelley Long are perfectly matched in this movie about a couple in a marriage that falls apart due to family vs. career. An eight year old Drew Barrymore is very impressive as a child who attempts to divorce her parents because they neglect her. Thrown in for good measure is an intrepid look at the movie business and an early vixen like performance from Sharon Stone as the home wrecker.

This film is very balanced in its look at all the subjects involved. A very under rated movie that contains some acute observations about life's priorities (or lack of them).
12 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
One of the best movies Ryan ONeil ever made!
dal_asher8 February 2007
I originally saw this movie in 1985 with my kids and of course, we loved it! We were living in India at the time and videos were our only link to American culture. Fortunatley we had a copy (no comment). We probably saw it 30 or 40 times over the years. When Blake starts singing during the scene in the Gone With The Wind take off, Atlanta, I have tears rolling down my cheeks. Later in the film you see the heartbreaking reality of many a child's life growing up in Hollywood. Money aplenty but no quality time with family. The premise is so sad and Drew Barrymore is so poignant - truly showed what a talented kid she was and sadly she seems to have been living very much the same way her character was in the film. Finally, I too, would join in campaign to get this out on DVD! Why hasn't it been released? Could it be the heights to which Sharon Stone rose on the stardom scale? Who knows but if you ever have a chance to see this movie, clear your schedule and sit down and watch it.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Well performed comedy/drama
jhaggardjr18 November 2001
"Irreconcilable Differences" is a very good seriocomedy about a Hollywood couple who are sued for divorce by their 9 year-old daughter. Ryan O'Neal, Shelley Long, and Drew Barrymore are well cast as the family torn apart by career, jealousy, and a little girl caught in the middle who just can't take it anymore with her parents' constant fighting. So as a result, she takes them to court, and the three members of the family tell their story (shown in flashback). Directed by Charles Shyer from a screenplay by Shyer and Nancy Meyers, "Irreconcilable Differences" shows us what its like to be in the Hollywood film industry which is fascinatingly detailed here. One hilarious scene is the part when acclaimed film director O'Neal is shooting a movie which appears to be a musical remake of "Gone With The Wind". A very young Sharon Stone stars as the actress playing the character modeled after Scarlett O'Hara. I was cracking up during that scene because it's naturally funny. But there are touching moments too, especially the early scenes when the O'Neal and Long characters first meet. Plus the scenes after they have their daughter are sweet and tender. "Irreconcilable Differences" is an underrated movie that deserved more attention than it received when released in 1984. It's a well-acted, well-written film.

*** (out of four)
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Good comedy/melodrama with a unique twist; the self-parody of the movie industry is often ingenious.
Bob A-215 January 2000
Drew pretty much steals the show as the deadpan "reasoner"

character: a child coping in the midst of two selfish,

immature adults. I'd compare her to Tatum O'Neal in Paper

Moon or Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird for the way

she anchors the audience's perspective as the madness (competently related here by Ryan and Shelley) spins around her.

The real comedy lies in the "screwball" plot twist to which the film's title refers (we learn, early in the plot, that it is little Drew's character, not the parents, who is suing for divorce), and especially the story's underlying satire of the entertainment industry. Highlights include how Albert/Ryan's plummeting career as a director parodies those of Cimino (dust, smoke and flies a la Heaven's Gate) and Bogdanovich (starring untalented girlfriend in multi-million-dollar flops). An Andy Warhol style painting of Shelly Long as Marilyn in the background of one scene is just too funny, an example of how understated the true humor can be in this otherwise broadly-played farce.

Some points are disturbing, though: it's made a joke that Ryan is having an anxiety attack instead of a heart attack (try having one), or that his visitation rights are threatened if he doesn't make child support payments (an interesting social comment). Considering the real-life ups and downs of Ryan O'Neal's and Shelly Long's careers, however, I'd say the film's a roaring success.
10 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Tough on Hollywood
moonspinner5524 May 2001
Say what you will about the Shyer-Meyers team ("Private Benjamin", "Father Of The Bride", "Baby Boom"), they know how to craft a movie, often exploiting every ounce of sentiment from their scripts. "Irreconcilable Differences" is somewhat of a departure for them however, a depiction of neurotic movie people, denizens of Hollywood, who have hardly any good points. As soon as the young couple finds success, it's a rich road downhill. The plot set-up has youngster Drew Barrymore trying to emancipate herself away from her famous mom and dad, and the H-Wood high-life is shown as both cause and effect. A terrific sequence involving Sharon Stone in a quasi-musical version of "Gone With The Wind" is satiric comic genius, yet the movie is so hard on its players, so brittle and tough, it's difficult to shake off the bad vibes even as the third act winds down to a sunny conclusion. Perceptively, the screenplay includes many awful (and awfully funny) truths about marriage, money and careers, but the cynical undermining of the picture may put fluff-oriented viewers off. ***1/2 from ****
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Everyone understands.
katlb9728 January 2001
This is a movie that everyone can understand. It explains my, as am I certain, many different parts of people's childhoods. It is worth watching because it shows how adults affect the world. Please, if you are a parent, watch this movie so that you can understand how important you are to your child. This move shows how a parent can mold the child, and vice versas.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A surprising Smart and Clever Look Inside Hollywood and Some of its More Neurotic Inhabitants
Isaac585510 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Writing team Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers scored a bullseye with IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES, a surprisingly smart and amusing comedy that blended the family dysfunction comedy with the "inside Hollywood" type of comedy and the results is quite entertaining. Our story begins with 10-year old KC Brotzky (Drew Barrymore)arriving in a Los Angeles courtroom where she is suing for emancipation from her divorced parents,filmmakers Albert and Lucy Brotzky (Ryan O'Neal and Shelley Long). The film then flashes back to the beginning of Albert and Lucy's relationship,showcasing the first smash hit film they made together, followed by another film during which Albert has an affair with the leading lady (Sharon Stone,very funny in one of her earliest roles)and how the making of this film tore Albert and Lucy apart. Albert and his new love then make a "Gone With the Wind"-type spectacular that bombs at the box office and things just go from bad to worse with poor little KC caught in the middle and tired of being a bargaining chip between her parents. O'Neal delivers what is probably the best performance of his career and Long is a good match for him. Aided by a deft screenplay, O'Neal, Long, and Barrymore deliver a nearly forgotten gem here which delivers warm family laughs and takes accurate potshots at Hollywood as well.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Way ahead of it's time!
Syl12 April 2006
Drew Barrymore is probably one of the youngest actresses to receive a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in this film. This role came after her ET fame, remember her as little Gertie. Pity the other stars in that Spielberg film never became the household name that surprisingly that Drew has accomplished. She has got quite a pedigree with the Barrymore legacy. Despite her personal problems, Drew really is a solid actress with a lifetime behind her. Anyway, I never saw this film until Sunday. I remember it being out but I have to say when I was 11 years old, I wanted to be Drew Barrymore (that was before I knew what happened to her). So I guess, I didn't watch it out of envy. I like the casting of Shelley Long who is probably one of the greatest female comediennes of our time who never gets enough work in my opinion to let her talents shine. She can do both drama and comedy equally well. She combines them both in this role as a desperate housewife turned writer. I like the way the film is set up with blame on both father and mother. Sharon Stone debuts in this film too. Ryan O'Neal is worth mentioning because I don't think he was acting in this film. It just hit too close to home. SO you want a good comedy from the eighties, this is pretty good. It's probably a classic compared to contemporary comedy that has become both vulgar and profane.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Drew was good, I forgot how good!
connerss29 July 2005
Someone above said she's not real in this. I thought she was very real. Her closing comments to the court are priceless and truthful. Also funny and dramatic is star Shelley Long, who is sunk with bad hairstyles and colors throughout the film. Did she tee off the film's stylist? Ryan's excellent and looks hot. Sharon Stone's the funniest I've ever seen her. My favorite line: "Dammit, Dottie this Tab is warm! Really mother, for $600 a week I expect you to know the difference between hot and cold!" This film's comments on the Hollywood scene are great because Charles Shyer & Nancy Meyers have lived it. Underrated. DVD, please. p.s. Closing song is dated and maudlin, badly performed by Sinatra. Written by Peter Allen & Carole Bayer Sager. "You & Me (We Wanted It All)".
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Fantastic Send up of the Movie Business in LA
Cammy-320 August 2000
A very funny look at Hollywood in general and Hollywood marriages specifically. Don't miss the fabulous musical version of "Gone With the Wind" that the producer, Albert, (Ryan O'Neal) sinks "every last dime" into, so his spoiled lover (Sharon Stone) can sing off-key howlers like:

"This Civil War, ain't gonna get me down, I'm moving my act, to a brand new town..."

A highly under rated film and a perfect role for the young Ms. Stone, who though hardly recognizable as a redhead, appears to be perfectly cast as a narcissistic, husband stealing, twit.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
its available
robinson-david124 March 2009
For anyone wanting to get this film on DVD it is now possible to order it from Hard to find Movies and will be available 14th April 09 As I live in the UK its going to cost a lot because of postage but its worth it. I originally got this on VHS twice but the quality of the picture was terrible so I have been waiting ever since. Apparently Lionsgate found this and other movies now called the Lost Collection and are going to release them all so there might be one you want I loved this movie because it had such catchy tunes and of course poetry. Shelley Long has always had a raw deal from the critics over her films but I have always found most of them really nice viewing.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A movie to be watched over and over again!
katiekarma8 October 2006
Glad to see that many others believe this movie is SOOOO underrated! Hopefully, some brain-dead executive will wake up and get this one released on DVD. I have watched it on TV many times (maybe 30?). I had copied it on VHS a long time ago, but no longer have VHS player. The performances are A+, excellent script, great romantic music. Sort of wanted to pick up a hitchhiker after seeing it. (LOL) And the "Nobody could be happy living in Pittsburgh" was amusing to me since I am originally from Pittsburgh. First their life-changing decision (for Albert to work for the producer), then their happy life becoming "one-sided" as she doesn't like her new life. Then her transformation into a best-selling author (with a story of their life, of course) and his decline (bankruptcy, etc.) because of his new spoiled brat of a wife (played excellently by Sharon Stone). Lucy buying Albert's house is sweet revenge (why else would she had done it?). I'm sure there were plenty of other homes for sale in California. My question: Who in the heck rates the movies anyhow? Some that are 4 stars are lousy, and others with 2 stars are great! Eagerly awaiting DVD release.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
The only thing holding this movie back, is it's impossible title.
Davidon8021 March 2006
I would like to give this a higher score, just for sentimental reasons. It is so much more romantic than any Meg Ryan movie. However this isn't saying much and essentially this is not a enormously groundbreaking, thought provoking, jaw dropping or gut wrenching movie. What it is, is a well written, smart, funny, well acted and well executed tear jerker which could have the stoniest of hearts melting by the end.

I honestly feel that the relationship between people who fall out of love is well documented here, and what adds an extra depth to this story is the effect is has on the children, be it in this case an extremely well casted Drew Barrymore.

This is a smart tale which deserves to be viewed as a warning to those who fall in and out of love easily. But it is also a nice piece of Sunday evening entertainment, with a sharp script about Hollywood, parenting and matrimony.

If you're ever channel surfing at what ever time in the day and just happen to pass by a movie that features Shelley Long, Barry Lyndon, the girl from E.T and a young Sharon Stone. Give it a try, you will be impressed.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Unthinkable that this movie is rated this low
anonreviewer22 August 2004
This movie is one of the very best of its type.

What is this movie about?

It is mostly about old regrets, and living and learning life lessons in marriage and family situations. This is not a movie for kids, but for mature adults, although for some reason it seems to be classified as a kid movie in some way. But no kids would understand this movie, and I doubt whether anyone under the age of 25 could get much from this movie.

The end of the movie is really touching, and the music used at the end is perfectly appropriate.

But the movie does have its weaknesses: it seems to be caught between comdey and drama, and in some small way, that does not work entirely well.

Still, definitely a movie to catch, but for adults only.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
IRRECONCIALABLE DIFFERENCES : Get This Classic On DVD!...
cwrdlylyn18 October 2005
IRRECONCIALABLE DIFFERENCES

This is one of my all time favorite movies. I tried to find it in video stores or online for years... but it wasn't until my local video store went out of business and sold their entire stock that I was able to get my hands on a copy... a run-down copy at that.

This film contains a career best performance from Shelley Long... career highlights from Ryan O'Neal and Sharon Stone... and possibly one of the most potent roles Barrymore has had in her long career.

On top of the performances, the screenplay creates a masterful balance of comedy pulled from real life situations, all the while never allowing it to be distracting to the heart tugging elements of the film. The dramatic scenes are played with just as much master craftsmanship as the comedic scenes... and the movie is both entertaining and emotionally packed. Not a common achievement.

I don't know how to begin a campaign to get this on DVD, but I'd certainly join any one I can find. A simple wash of the film, remastering, and a few cheesy extras is all I ask.

If you haven't seen this movie, do it. B/c I'm sure after doing so you'll hop on the bandwagon calling for this film to get a little more credit than it has received in recent years.

... A ...
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A forgotten gem of a movie!
ktgreenbank18 March 2002
Being a media graduate, I've seen a LOT of films and I can safely say this is one of the best. And yet NO-ONE, not even the most self-professed movie geek, has heard of it! It's such a Sunday afternoon movie that you would have thought more people would have stumbled across it and slowly fell in love with it. Whenever I want to feel all warm and fuzzy or have a good cry, I switch on this film and my family know to leave the room! All the leading stars, especially the cute little Drew Barrymore and Sharon Stone in her first starring role, are flawless and the script is top notch! More people should see this film.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
"This Tab is warm! Damn it Dottie!"
pzivojinovic2 January 2017
If you love Drew Barrymore you absolutely have to get this movie she is so cute in this movie. I've really never forgotten this movie. Other than the far fetched conceit of a little girl trying to divorce her famous parents, it's a very clever story, well written and funny. It's a thinly veiled recounting of the rise and fall (and rise) of director Peter Bogdanovich and his first wife Polly Platt. Ryan O'Neal and Shelley Long both give strong performances.

Also the talent behind the camera is amazing. This film also has a brilliant comedic performance by Sharon Stone. It was one of her first roles. In fact I became a fan of hers because of this film. I also have the poster of this film hanging on my wall. The movie was funny and enjoyable to watch. The one nude scene is surprising in a movie of that era. It was brief and unexpected. You might miss it if not paying close attention.

Overall rating: 8 out of 10.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Cute!
jillcan7 April 1999
The actors in this movie make the characters seem very real and well-rounded. Drew Barrymore is Casey Brodsky, a child whose parents are going through a divorce. She can't take it anymore because they keep blaming/using her, so she decides to go to court to see if she can divorce herself from her parents. The movie is Casey's story as she tells it in court. It's a very cute movie for the whole family and I'm sure most of us have already seen it at least twice, but if you haven't then I'd recommend it.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
"Movie" movie
gcd7013 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This "movie" movie is cleverly written and well-constructed by writer-director Charles Shyer (with co-writer Nancy Meyers). Humour and drama are balanced with alacrity.

Ryan O'Neal and Shelley Long play off each other well, and you always believe them. Drew Barrymore is as cute as a button as she provides the sub-plot concerning family affairs and parenting. Also stars Sam Wanamaker, Allen Garfield and a very young Sharon Stone.

It is hard to understand why Meyers and Shyer felt it necessary to provide the moral ending. I guess it was too obvious too omit.

Tuesday, April 13, 1999 - Video
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
stone comedy
tanyaqua22 July 2006
Here's a cast some would have waited a long time to see: Ryan O'Neal,Shelley Long ,Drew Barrymore, Sam Wanamaker. Big Hollywood star, Cheers actress whose never found a film to match the series, Drew Barrymore (any more need to be said) and th great Sam Wanamaker. That alone is enough to watch this film. A lawyer is telling his client the details of the law on divorce. Then the big surprise. Its a young Drew Barrymoere. Her intentions is to divorce her parents. They have become apart due to the pressures of successful careers. Here is a useful warning to all families and this should be required viewing of all newly weds who have high career ambitions. TO make things worse for the parents, Drew wants to leave them both and live with the mind. An empty headed Sharon Stone maid. A real piece of unusual casting and seeing it casts aside the shadow of Stone as nothing else other than Basic Instinct. Here's a TV film with a real and well handled script. Trouble is they take this light comedy into heavier drama and that's its let down. Directors need to be persuaded to leave things as entertainment instead of trying to force blatant social commentary onto the script when the comedy is doing it already. Watch the first half and if you get irritated by the court room drama find something else
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Different Strokes.
tfrizzell27 July 2002
A very young Drew Barrymore decides to divorce her parents (Ryan O'Neal and Shelley Long) in this hit-and-miss comedy that never does come together. The two have been at odds and pretty much separated for a while after their careers get in the way of what once was a happy and loving marriage. O'Neal hits super-stardom as a film-maker, but does not give Long the credit she deserves and starts romancing the star of his first feature film (the scene-stealing Sharon Stone). He becomes a big-time celebrity with Stone now at his side while Long sinks into depression, but then there is a reversal of fortune as Long becomes a great novelist and O'Neal loses his shirt on a big-budget "Gone With the Wind"-styled film that tanks with critics and audiences. The movie goes back and forth between the media-crazed trial and flashbacks that, like the film, are sometimes mediocre. 2.5 out of 5 stars.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
This would be on my list of the Ten Worst movies ever made.
movie-buff20 March 2001
Why is this billed as a comedy? It isn't even close. The concept might work with a better script and directing. Even the acting is poor; there is no chemistry between Long and O'Neal. A nude Sharon Stone couldn't save this movie!
1 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed