Isn't She Great

What a screech that went up in heaven the day Jacqueline Susann heard that, in the movie version of her life, she was to be played by Bette Midler. Susann, best known for her sleazy novel Valley of the Dolls, always thought of herself as crashingly beautiful. Confronting the issue head on, the film is all about the gap between how we'd like to be seen and how others see us. But, based on an article 'Wasn't She Great' by Michael Korda, Paul Rudnick's script keeps staggering like a drunk towards sentimentality (an autistic son, breast cancer and a supportive husband get slobbered over at embarrassing length), only to sober up suddenly. Things work best when Jackie and pal Flo (Channing) get together. It's a reminder not only that Midler and Channing can act, but that vanity and a taste for Venus flytrap clothing don't necessarily blunt your powers of observation. Extolling the profundity of the superficial, there are lines here Wilde would appreciate. Visually, the costumes do all the time travel work, with director Bergman shooting in that '70s-lite haze which Midler drags into her films.

Release details

Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Andrew Bergman
Screenwriter: Paul Rudnick
Cast: Bette Midler
Nathan Lane
David Hyde Pierce
Stockard Channing
John Cleese
John Larroquette
Amanda Peet

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Louis Burns

This is a very good and highly under-rated film. Midler shows what a spectacular actress she is here, and her comedic timing is on que as usual. The only downside in this movie was the casting of Nathan Lane. He is a great actor, but not in this one.

Louis Burns

This is a very good and highly under-rated film. Midler shows what a spectacular actress she is here, and her comedic timing is on que as usual. The only downside in this movie was the casting of Nathan Lane. He is a great actor, but not in this one.