Kidron's beguiling American debut sprinkles moments of everyday oddity and genuine pain into the usual Hollywood syrup of think-positive platitudes. Queens in 1969 bustles with Jewish familial ructions when middle-aged mum Pearl Berman (MacLaine) gets picked up at her husband's funeral by spiv-suited Italian Joe Meledandri (Mastroianni), a long-time secret admirer. Initially awkward, eventually rejuvenating, this romantic late late show puts Pearl's toiling years of marriage into proper perspective and throws the rest of the household's problems into sharper relief... MacLaine bristles to touching effect as a woman at last grasping some time for herself; Mastroianni's Casanova codger is a hangdog charmer of a Hollywood debut. Elsewhere, myriad minor characters and switchback shifts from tears to whimsy jostle for attention in Todd Graff's densely populated script. More lunatic than Moonstruck, sweeter than Sweetie, the film's breezy domesticity is the acceptable face of sentimental guff.
Cast and crew
Marcia Gay Harden