04 August 2008
Heartburn, dir. Mike Nichols (1986)
There's something to be said for not revisiting movies you reckon are really good.
I saw this years ago, like when it first came out on vhs, and I remembered it as being this heart-wrenching portrait of a storybook-romance-gone-bad. Turns out, it's nothing more than Nora Ephron slinging shit at Carl Bernstein for an hour and a half.
Streep and Nicholson - as Rachel and Mark - meet at a wedding, which is just too poetic not to be clever. She's told flat out by several friends that he's single. Famously single. He's made a career of it. Mark is to single as Bill Gates is to Microsoft. So we're clear: Mark Enjoys Sleeping Around.
Fifteen minutes later, they're married. Another 10 minutes, they have a two-year-old and another baby on the way, Mark's making late-night runs for "socks", and it's all downhill from there. The bulk of the film is about the relationship falling apart, but we never actually got to see it build, so why should we care?
Mark is given the short end, here, played as the no-good philandering husband who cheats because, you know, That's What Men Do. I'm not excusing his infidelity, but surely there was a reason for it beyond this one-dimensional stereotype, yeah? I'm just saying.
I'm with Steve here in that I remember this one being so much better. I enjoyed the book years ago, and remember seeing the movie before that. My only real memory of it was Nora Ephron's "character" being a bit of a cow. I just felt that she didn't know how to get out of her own way and enjoy life. She seemed to blame much on "men", in general, rather than just her man. That wasn't explored too fully here, but Jack did cheat on her and we never really got a sense of why he made that choice. That was the main issue with this movie -- it was all her point of view, and fair enough if the movie is about her, but we're going to be better informed about the decisions she makes if we know a bit about his.