Heartburn (1986)

MIKE NICHOLS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5

USA, 1986.   .   Screenplay by , based on her novel.   Cinematography by .   Produced by , .   Music by .   Production Design by .   Costume Design by .   Film Editing by .   

A mesmerizing performance by Meryl Streep is the life force of this moderately successful comedy-drama, one of many times that she was to be directed by Mike Nichols. She plays screenwriter Nora Ephron’s alter ego, a New York food writer who falls in love with and marries a Washington journalist (Jack Nicholson, loosely based on Carl Bernstein) and goes to the capital city to live with him. They go through home renovations, childbirth and marital discord until it finally comes time to decide what’s to be done about the ever-widening emotional gulf between them. Streep’s incredible comic timing (just look at her face when a young Kevin Spacey hits on her on the subway in all her pregnant glory) is unforgettable, but Nichols’s direction is too drawn out and the film has little momentum. Some of the film’s witty observations of the daily life of these characters will stick though, but there’s no denying that much of Ephron’s screenplay fails to capture the sparkling wit of her novel.

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