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Robert, a general contractor, is visiting his ailing wife in a nursing home. When it's time for him to leave, he has problems getting a taxi home, because of an intense snow storm. ... See full summary »
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New York urologist Harold Lear gets a taste of his own medicine when he suffers a heart attack and is confronted with a medical institution which doesn't seem equipped to help. Wife Martha ... See full summary »
Mary Tyler Moore,
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George Roy Hill
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Emma is a divorced woman with a teen-aged son who moves into a small town and tries to make a go of a horse ranch. Murphy is the widowed town druggist who steers business her way. Things ... See full summary »
As this is one of my favorite Anne Tyler novels and movie adaptations are usually disappointing, i was pleasantly surprised by this one. It's a cliché of movie promotion but Joanne Woodward IS Maggie Moran - from her somehow busybody-ish walk to her expressions of quizzical dismay, hopeful desperation etc. when her well-meaning plans for fixing someone's life go awry. Like rain and sun alternating as her mind races trying to save the situation; "...Maggie always trying to patch patch patch..." says Fiona.
James Garner* is OK as Ira; he greets Maggie's foibles with attitudes ranging from fond acceptance to dyspeptic irritation. Maybe it's just because i like Eileen Heckart but if anything her take on Mabel is better than the original character. Same for Debra Mooney as Mrs. Stuckey; her sidelong squinty-eyed dislike for all things Moran is something to see. And Delphi Harrington's brief appearance as Sugar; "Boys had always been fascinated by Sugar." - and i can see why. Maybe it's unfair to judge by my personal reading of Tyler, but some of the other characters seem to diverge farther and farther from the story; i just don't see Joyce Van Patten as the former bohemian bad girl of Maggie's & her youth, and what happened to the Barley twins? - they're now the Barlow twins and totally unrecognizable.
Then there's the music; it has a kindly naivete, a homey, ambling feel, a bit of whatever it is about Tyler's novels that i'm so enamoured of. The Moran house is very Tyler/Baltimore and the Stuckey place engagingly trashy; that hanging rain lamp is perfect. In this case i think it helps to have read the book for the background and history that wouldn't fit into a movie; how LeRoy's very existence is a consequence of Maggie's meddling for instance. For whatever reason i think this movie has more of that distinctive Tyler something than "The Accidental Tourist" or "Earthly Possessions".
* Search james garner ira on youtube for his take on Ira.
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