- Movie Rating -

Just the Way You Are (1984)

| November 14, 1984

Kristy McNicol is a man-magnet in the romantic drama Just the Way You Are.  Wherever she goes, handsome men are automatically drawn to her like moths to the flame.  The reason for all this attention is kind of a mystery.  I mean, she is a pretty girl although not a breathtaking knock-out, but still pretty with a pearly smile.  Plus, she is not especially flirty toward them.  She’s kind of awkward.

McNichol plays Susan Berlanger, a professional flutist whose attractive qualities are, by standards of this movie, quite exhausting.  One suitor, named Sam (Robert Carridine) hits on her in a restaurant.  Another is a coworker named Jack (Lance Guest).  One suitor, named Frank (Tim Daly), is pushing marriage.  With all this attention Susan runs, as anyone would, to a ski resort in France.

One possible reason for her shyness is that she has a handicap, she wears a leg brace that was the result of viral encephalitis that she contracted when she was nine.  For the purposes of keeping it under wraps, she covers the brace with a cast once she gets to France.  There she adds to the list of potential lovers by meeting up with an industrialist named Francois (Andre Dussollier), a professional skier named Steve (Patrick Cassidy) and a photographer named Peter (Michael Ontkean).

This movie has its brain as misplaced as its intentions.  The point is for Susan to find the strength to accept herself and her handicap, but since she has been dealing with this affliction since she was nine years old, why does she only now try and learn to live with it?  By this point, she should have made peace with herself.  Therefore, the movie is a long, laborious journey toward the inevitability of her triumph.  There are big speeches, sour moments of reflection and moments when the other characters just feed the need for her to find herself and her personal comfort zone.  This movie doesn’t need and ending, it needs a stop sign.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1984) View IMDB Filed in: Drama