- Movie Rating -

Maria’s Lover (1985)

| January 5, 1985

I came to Maria’s Lovers with an open heart, ready to see a tense drama made by a master filmmaker and starring a cast of some of the best actors in the business.  Well, the director is there, the cast is there but the movie isn’t really there.  Maria’s Lovers is a well-intentioned but badly acted movie that should involve us deeply but so overplays its story that you end up getting frustrated.

The movie takes place just after World War II.  Ivan Bibic (John Savage) has returned to his small Pittsburgh suburb shell-shocked after having survived the horrors of a Japanese POW camp.  While overseas, Ivan remained faithful to his childhood sweetheart, a Yugoslavian virgin named Maria (Nastassja Kinski).  While he’s been away, she’s been with several lovers, but never-the-less they get married.  The marriage doesn’t go well largely because of his trauma.  He feels unworthy of Maria and starts looking at other girls.

Maria is a magnet for the local men, even Ivan’s father (Robert Mitchum) whose manhood threatens his son because he now feels that he can never be the kind of man that his father is.  And, of course, after Ivan cheats on her with another woman, Maria starts to fall in love with a local drifter (Keith Carridine) who would appear to be her soulmate.  She has never met anyone like him and they bond instantly.

All of this binds the pieces of a good movie.  There’s family drama, the tragedy of war, an ill-advised marriage, moments of infidelity and confrontation, but it never really adds up to much.  The story doesn’t take us anywhere.  We don’t see the characters grow or change.  They are more or less the same at the end that they were at the beginning.

That’s really too bad because I settled in for something special, and this is a movie that shows greatness is fits and starts.  There is a good story here but it is lost in performances that are overdone, and a screenplay that is underwritten.  The movie really needed flesh on its bones.  It’s spare, too spare and I was disappointed.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Drama