5.9/10
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36 user 28 critic

No Looking Back (1998)

Claudia has lived all her life in a small, seaside, blue-collar town, hanging out with the same group of friends since grade school. Now she's waiting tables in a greasy spoon to help ... See full summary »

Director:

Edward Burns

Writer:

Edward Burns
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lauren Holly ... Claudia
Kevin Heffernan ... Guy in Diner #1
Mark Schulte Mark Schulte ... Guy in Diner #2
Edward Burns ... Charlie
Kathleen Doyle ... Mrs. Ryan
Jennifer Esposito ... Teresa
Jon Bon Jovi ... Michael
Nick Sandow ... Goldie
Welker White ... Missy
Ellen McElduff ... Waitress
Connie Britton ... Kelly
Blythe Danner ... Claudia's Mom
Kaili Vernoff ... Alice
John Ventimiglia ... Tony the Pizza Guy
Leah Gray Leah Gray ... Girl in Bar #1
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Storyline

Claudia has lived all her life in a small, seaside, blue-collar town, hanging out with the same group of friends since grade school. Now she's waiting tables in a greasy spoon to help support her mother. After three years together, her live-in boyfriend, Michael, is eager to tie the knot. Their life together is comfortable and Michael loves her. But Claudia has dreams of life beyond her home town and is afraid that if she marries now, she'll never realize them. Claudia's sister Kelly lives with her mother and struggles with good humor to care for her fatherless baby. Their mother hasn't left the house since Claudia's dad walked out on the family six months ago. No one understands why Claudia sympathizes with her renegade father. Like him, she has a wild, restless streak and longs for more. But she can't quite put her finger on what it is she wants. So when her old flame, Charlie, returns from out west, she begins to wonder... maybe he's the answer. Written by Eva Tauzer <eva@mte.hupe.hu>

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Taglines:

How can you not fit in... in your own hometown? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During his commentary for The Brothers McMullen (1995), Edward Burns says that he and his fellow cast members have since nick-named this movie "No One Saw It." See more »

Goofs

At the Laundromat, the clothes change position and order between shots, and the beer disappears. See more »

Quotes

Michael: This guy's a mutt, he's always been a mutt. He's probably still trying to bang any skank he can get his hands on.
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Soundtracks

I'm On Fire
Written and performed by Bruce Springsteen
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User Reviews

 
Works exactly because it's subdued...a quiet, gritty slice of life surprise
4 February 2013 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

No Looking Back (1998)

A grossly underrated film--but also not an "enjoyable" movie in the normal sense. It is such a realistic slice of life about a group of lower-middle class Long Island shore town dwellers, it sometimes fails to rise above its own material into a meaningful narrative. And that is what most movies find a way to do.

But you might reassess that intention and bask in a situation so simply wrought--the houses, the beach, the old cars, and most of all the array of people who fix cars and wait tables and hang out in ordinary working class bars. It all feels good even though it's not, overall, a feel-good movie. And the acting is generally spot on, even the doubtful inclusion of Jon Bon Jovi as one of the two main guys.

At the center of it all is the young woman, Claudia, played by Lauren Holly, who is trying to find a way to "not look back" and yet finds herself trapped by the town and her devotion to her friends there. (This is a slight flaw all along--this seemingly bright and striving young woman is still working at a diner when she could easily move on, or go to college, or get another kind of job.) But still, Claudia is nearly engaged to the nice guy Michael (Bon Jovi) when her ex-boyfriend Charlie from three years earlier returns to town. Charlie is played by writer/director Edward Burns and he might not be everyone's taste as a leading type, but he works in this role for me. He's charming and unreliable even in his actions, which are too coy and sweet and lovable for his sudden appearance in town.

So the conflict is there, and maybe it's not enough for a feature film. What fills in the gaps are small things, like a past abortion and its consequences, or a mother (played with utter brilliance by Blythe Danner) struggling with her own man issues. There are bar friends and a sister and a mechanic or two on the side, and it mixes and matches and floats and often avoids high drama or deeper plot development. Even the characters are left someone simple, partly because there are so many of them, but they become increasingly convincing.

What then makes the movie work? All of this, as it is, including its restraint and lack of the sensational. And most of all it's Holly's performance that builds and holds together through it all. I was surprised by the depth of what she pulled off and yet I'd never heard of her. It turns out she's been very active but in mostly smaller roles, both in movies and television. This is one movie never mentioned in highlights of her career, and I think it's a shame. Burns clearly pulled together people of talent for this small, focused movie, and as an independent movie with an independent feel it rises above its smallness. I have a feeling it will survive over the years and continue to be interesting for its honesty.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 March 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Long Time, Nothing New See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$44,003, 29 March 1998

Gross USA:

$222,099

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$222,099
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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