6 user 7 critic

Strapless (1989)

R | | Drama, Romance | 18 May 1990 (USA)
1:19 | Trailer

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An expatriate American doctor in London allows herself to lighten up when her freewheeling younger sister and a mysterious man enter her life. Her inhibitions released, the beautiful doctor learns that freedom has its own price.


David Hare


David Hare





Cast overview, first billed only:
Blair Brown ... Dr. Lillian Hempel
Bruno Ganz ... Raymond Forbes
Bridget Fonda ... Amy Hempel
Alan Howard ... Mr. Cooper
Michael Gough ... Douglas Brodie
Hugh Laurie ... Colin
Suzanne Burden Suzanne Burden ... Romaine Salmon
Rohan McCullough Rohan McCullough ... Annie Rice
Billie Roche Billie Roche ... Gerry
Camille Coduri ... Mrs. Clark
Gary O'Brien Gary O'Brien ... Mr. Clark (as Gary O'Brien)
Spencer Leigh Spencer Leigh ... Hus
Julie Foy Julie Foy ... Nurse
Jacqui Gordon-Lawrence Jacqui Gordon-Lawrence ... Staff Nurse
Cyril Nri Cyril Nri ... Harold Sabola


An expatriate American doctor in London allows herself to lighten up when her freewheeling younger sister and a mysterious man enter her life. Her inhibitions released, the beautiful doctor learns that freedom has its own price.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Their dreams will become reality. Their fantasies will become obsessions. One remarkable man will change their lives forever. See more »


Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

18 May 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bez zahamowan See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Dr. Lillian Hempel: [unexpected news re pregnancy] And who will look after it? Me? Thank you! While you dance around London with your friends talking about how one day you're going to make a dress!
Amy: [tearfully] Is that what will happen?
Dr. Lillian Hempel: Well, I mean, I'm just going on past record.
Amy: I don't have it in me...? What, do you think people can't change? Lillian? Can they?
Dr. Lillian Hempel: Look, I don't wanna seem cruel...
Amy: [with irony] No, of course you're not cruel. Of course you're the kind one.
See more »


La Nuit Americaine
Composed by Georges Delerue
© Societé P.E.C.F. (France)
Used by permission of Warner Chappell Music Limited, London
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User Reviews

19 August 2002 | by Robert J. MaxwellSee all my reviews

I don't get this movie, not even after two viewings. What was Hare trying to do? What was he aiming at? It's as if a committee of mixed gender had sat around a table and put together a list of the things that they believe women want to see in a man who becomes their lover. Let's see. Continental accent, of course, with no clearly focussed origin, kind of like a "continental" menu. That goes without saying. Elegance in dress and grooming. No fur balls allowed here. Smooth, yes, to the point of manipulativeness. Polite. Soft spoken, not a bit brash. Loving, caring, sensitive (whatever that is). Mysterious too. That's an important ingredient. (Why is mystery appealing?) Maybe a bit dangerous, but not towards Blair Brown, and only a bit, rather like a spirited horse is dangerous. A tender and attentive lover, although we have to guess at that. But we already know that guys with continental accents are good lovers. Bountifully rich, of course. Brown: "I'll get the check." "Ganz: "There is no check. They know me here." Blair Brown, who has a beautiful used face in this film, responds by holding Bruno Ganz at bay through most of the movie because she doesn't want to be involved again, while one imagines all the women in the audience silently screaming at her -- "GET that guy!!!!"

The performances are decent, although Ganz never smiles for fear of losing his mystery I guess. Bridget Fonda is sexy, sleazy, and not very well grounded in reality. But the plot cannot be overcome. That stereotypical male lover is a terrible insult to men and women alike. Perform a thought experiment in which the genders are exchanged and a female is the pursuer and a man the pursued. Then have the woman with an overblown body, a more than robust bosom and a big can, who drenches herself in perfume, wears tons of make up, has a penchant for dressing in black teddies and hose, wearing stiletto heels, prancing about with her tongue hanging out, and assuming postures around her target that suggests she is in a constant state of estrus. Isn't that the sort of image that Katherine MacKinnon has been calling pornographic? Shouldn't there be a corresponding pornographic image for men? If so, wouldn't this guy be in the running?

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