- Movie Rating -

Falling in Love Again (1981)

| February 20, 1981

I understand, from some reasonably reliable sources, that Falling in Love Again was a passion project for its writer and director Steven Paul who was 18 when he came up with the idea and 21 when it was finished.  In between, he set out to finance it with the help of his family and his friends.  So, with that, I went into the movie knowing that it was made with a fair amount of passion.  I only wish that I could be as passionate about the finished product.

Falling in Love Again is a movie of nostalgia that I never really found engaging.  It tells a present-day story of a nice-enough guy named Harry (Elliot Gould) who is in the midst of a midlife crisis.  He is married to his sweetheart Sue (Suzanna York) and they have two teenage kids.  When he receives an invitation to his high school reunion, he heads off to the old neighborhood and memories of his younger days.

We flash back to those days in the 1940s when they were fresh-faced kids.  He was an aspiring architect and she was best-known as the best lookin’ girl in school.  But class comes between them.  As their relationship ebbs toward marriage, both families come unglued, leading to one of those ethnic New York weddings where everyone is ungainly and colorful.  This is one of those movies in which conflicts are dealt with by screaming and holding people back from a fistfight.

The flashback structure is very odd.  The characters don’t behave like normal people, more like the idea of people with quirky behavior.  And perhaps that was the point, the flashbacks are perhaps trying to measure the way people are portrayed in memories or when old family stories are retold.  But it is a gimmick that grows old very fast.  It’s cute the way they are structured but who wants to spend a whole movie watching this?

And the present-day scenes are pointless.  It is obvious that Elliot Gould and Suzanna York are employed here to bring in some big names but their scenes are so brief that even noting that they are the stars is entirely misleading.

Look, I admire Paul’s passion.  I can see his intent on the screen.  The problem is that when you clear away your admiration for his attempt, you don’t really find an engaging movie.  If you didn’t know his story behind the scenes, you wouldn’t find much that is on the screen that you would enjoy.  It’s not a terrible film, but you kind of smile through gritted teeth.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1981) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized