Movie Review – Maxie (1985)

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Maxie (1985)

Starring Glenn Close, Mandy Patinkin, and Ruth Gordon

Directed by Paul Aaron

Written by Patricia Resnick, based on the novel Marion’s Wall by Jack Finney

Reviewed by David Wisehart

Despite an energetic performance by Glenn Close and several light comedic touches, Maxie proves to be a real dog of a movie.

Nick and Jan Cheyney (Mandy Patinkin and Glenn Close) are a San Francisco couple whose quaint lifestyles are invaded by the ghost of Maxie Malone (Glenn Close again), a 1920s flaming flapper and rising starlet of the silent film era. Maxie died in a car crash before her first screen test for a leading role, a role that could have made her a star. For sixty years, she’s wondered if she truly could have made it in Hollywood. And she aims to find out. When Maxie takes over Jan’s body in her quest for fame and retribution, things start going from bad to worse.

Things like direction and plotting.

Paul Aaron (The Miracle Worker, Maid in America) directs as if he were still doing another television Movie-of-the-Week. It plays like Three’s Company meets Jennifer Slept Here. His humor lacks any form of subtlety or cinematic style, and his insistence on drowning the film in every twenties cliché imaginable is exhausting at best.

The acting almost saves this movie, but that’s a bit much to ask of any theatrical ensemble, even one sporting the talents of Close and Patinkin. Though she seem comfortable in their domestic milieu, Close loses both control and credibility as Maxie. It was undoubtedly a tempting role for Close, who’d already garnered three Oscar nominations for her roles in The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, and The Natural, but her decision to take on such a schizophrenic assignment seems a poor one in retrospect.

Patinkin, however, is very good as the affable Nick, caught between love of wife and lust for life. His rather relaxed interpretation of Nick makes for good counterpoint to Close’s no-holds-barred dramatic calisthenics. Patinkin and Close definitely have a chemistry between them, but under Paul Aaron’s misguided direction it all turns a bit toxic.

Ruth Gordon’s final performance (she died shortly after completing the role) is also a slight disappointment. As Maxie’s lifelong friend and companion, Gordon fails to provide the sort of warmth and humor the part deserves. Though one hates to speak ill of the dead, Gordon’s last role is far from a bravura performance and is certainly not the grand finale her seventy-year career deserves.

Maxie does have several moments of lighthearted humor, but the laughs are few and far between.

Write by phần mềm gốc

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