- Movie Rating -

Slow Dancing in the Big City (1978)

| November 12, 1978

[written November 8, 2004]

Nearly every review that I have read of John G. Avildsen’s Snow Dancing in the Big City resorts to affectionately calling it ‘cornball’.  It’s cornball and shmaltzy, they seem to agree, but functionally so.  I’ve seen the movie, and while I can agree with the assessment, I must admit that, for me, it is to the film’s detriment.  This is a love story, at times moving but most times overcooked.  Whatever reaction that I have to any love story, eye-rolling shouldn’t be part of the experience.

The story, in some ways, reminds me of Love Story.  There are two people who fall in love and one of them is seriously ill.  The difference is that I actually gave a damn about this couple in this movie, which is something that I can’t say of the other (sorry).  The man is Lou Friedlander (Paul Sorvino), a New York newspaper columnist who is well-respected but whose confidence hides a lonely heart.  That issue may be solved by the arrive of a new neighbor, a beautiful dancer named Sarah Gantz (Anne Ditchburn) who is uptight and, again, seriously ill – evidenced when we first meet her by a cramp in her leg.

The two fall in love, and find a need for one another.  Both Lou and Sarah are serious people, dedicated to work, but find a new spirit in their bond together.  The big finale in the movie comes down to whether or not he will be able to make it to the theater in time for her big performance, and I think you already know the answer to that.

Slow Dancing in the Big City takes itself seriously enough that we care about the couple in question, but it is hard to agree with those critics who forgave its corniness and its overwrought sentimentality.  I kept wishing that Avildsen would tone down the melodrama and just make it a drama that I could care more about.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1978) View IMDB Filed in: Drama