- Actors: Jack Lemmon, Julie Andrews, Sally Kellerman, Robert Loggia, Jennifer Edwards
- Directors: Blake Edwards
- Writers: Blake Edwards, Milton Wexler
- Producers: Jonathan D. Krane, Tony Adams, Trish Caroselli
- Format: NTSC, Import
- Number of tapes: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Vestron Video
- VHS Release Date: Aug. 24 1994
- Run Time: 102 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- ASIN: 6300263401
That's Life [Import]
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This film was something of a movie stunt: writer-director Blake Edwards cast his friends and family, gave them a structure, then had them improvise the scenes before he put them into a script. The result is so amazingly flat that you'll be astonished that anyone would think they were actually doing something interesting. The plot centers on a writer (Jack Lemmon) who, in his anxiety about the onset of his 60th birthday, doesn't notice that his singer-wife (Julie Andrews) is going through a crisis of her own: a throat ailment that may be cancer. The cast, which includes both Edwards's and Lemmon's kids, flutters around them searching for a way to kick-start the plot, but we're left to watch Lemmon twittering about in the midst of a very late midlife crisis. --Marshall Fine
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Does it work at all? Well, the first time I saw this movie, I HATED it. Since Lemmon's death last summer, I have been sort of running my own little "Jack Lemmon film festival" whenver I think of it, and upon re-view, it's not half bad. Seeing Lemmon's character wrestle with his mortality strikes me as poignant now after the actor's actual death. Equally eerie in its way, is seeing Julie Andrews character, a professional singer, struggling with potentially devestating vocal problems--and in her own stoic way, her own mortality.
The improvisational storyline is the real problem with this film, however. It's rather undeveloped. Lemmon typically needs a broader canvas than Edwards provides him here. He is intense here as in "Days..." but to lesser effect. He's all wound up with no place special to go. We've seen Lemmon do this kind of shtick before ("Tribute" comes to mind), and like Julie Andrews' Gillian in this movie, we feel like telling him to snap out of it--or we're leaving!
But this was booked as an improvised movie. Kind of. The scenes were discussed by all involved. Between Edwards, Andrews and Lemmon there were some 100 years of film experience brought to bear. The story is very believable, even if the characters are in another world from our own, we can still identify. Gil's patient, suffering, worrying about a real health problem while her husband takes the center stage ("That's the worse case I've ever seen"). The only neurosis here is in Lemmon's character, and contrasted with Gil's real life problem, is the nexus of the story.
So just watch it. If you liked any of Edwards's earlier films like "10" or "The Party", you really will not notice anything unusual. It has all of his hallmarks, very funny and sad at the same time. Sally Kellerman and Robert Loggia are very effective in ther supporting roles and Tony Bennett's vocal of "Life In A Looking Glass" (Mancini/Bricusse) is heart-breaking at the end.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
As rare of a gem this movie is I can't fine the wonderful Tony Bennet end title song either.
Most of it's about Jack Lemmon's coming to terms with turning 60 and some male angst that goes along with that.
Julie Andrews is the true marvel here, so centered and precise. She doesn't want to bother anyone else about her more serious situation.
It's true that the p/s DVD is of poor quality, but sound is OK and the dialogue is the important thing here. It's always upsetting that studios rush something onto DVD with no concern of artistic integrity. I still think enough of this film to watch it repeatedly, for the glorious dialogue.
Felicia Farr (Lemmon's real-life wife) is a riot; came out of retirement for this.
Hate the DVD, but not this marvelous film. made with obvious affection.
I, too, would like to see the film given proper treatment.