Lovers And Other Strangers (1970)

CY HOWARD

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBUSA, 1970Screenplay by , , , based on the play by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna.  Cinematography by Produced by Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by , Academy Awards 1970Golden Globe Awards 1970

Bonnie Bedelia and Michael Brandon in Lovers and Other Strangers.

An upcoming wedding puts a spotlight on a number of couples and their devotion to each other. Michael Brandon is preparing to marry and feels bad that they have both been lying to their parents about the fact that they’re already living together. Bedelia’s sister () is frustrated with her husband () because he won’t have sex with her, while Brandon’s brother () is divorcing his wife (Diane Keaton in her film debut) and it’s causing no end of anguish for his traditional Italian parents (Richard Castellano and ). Real-life couple Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor’s stage play is adapted to the big screen and feels talky but not stilted, it plays more like television than cinema but the characters are amusing and the kitschy nostalgic factor grows more appealing with the passage of time. The first half sets up the various pairings and their situations and is frank and honest without ever being particularly funny or insightful, the second half takes place at the wedding where plenty that is amusing happens (including the addition of on a blind date with , and Gig Young as Bedelia’s father cheating on Cloris Leachman with ) but nothing ever feels particularly clever. A lot of the morality is dated but the presentation of love as a situation that one can never quite figure out always feels true, and the sturdy acting makes it well worth checking out even if it’s the kind of movie that’s been done much better since.

 

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