That’s Life (1986)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5

USA, 1986. , , , . Screenplay by , Blake Edwards. Cinematography by . Produced by , . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Blake Edwards shoots an intimate relationship comedy using his gorgeous Malibu home as the primary location, casting Jack Lemmon as his alter ego while real-life wife Julie Andrews shines as leading lady. Andrews has recently had a biopsy taken of a growth on her throat that she is awaiting to hear the results about, keeping quiet about her worst fears while preparing for the large party she is throwing in a few days for her husband’s sixtieth birthday. He, a successful architect, doesn’t notice his wife’s tension as he is lost in his own hypochondria, taking his anxieties out on their visiting children (played by Lemmon’s son and Julie and Blake’s daughters and ) and acting out with some extramarital dalliances. His fears are so consuming that eventually even the patient Andrews, who has been seeing to everyone’s concern in their house without breaking a bead of sweat, becomes fed up with her husband as the great event approaches, breaking only when prompted to do so by neighbour and friend Sally Kellerman (who spends her entire performance shaking her hair to an irritating degree).  The poignant and perceptive moments of this film, most of which involve the director paying great tribute to his magnificently talented wife, far outweigh the more tasteless moments of Edwards indulging himself in his usual slapstick silliness (the priest, played by Robert Loggia, swigging whiskey in the confessional, Lemmon’s wife as a horny fortune teller). The main characters all feel liked lived in, real people, while the gorgeous scenery helps contribute to a sense of satisfying, grown-up ruminations of the meaning of life and appreciation for the beauty of impermanence and the passage of time.

Academy Award Nomination: Best Original Song (“Like In A Looking Glass”)

Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Jack Lemmon), Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Julie Andrews), Best Original Song (“Like In A Looking Glass”)

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