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Judy Berlin (1999)

Cast: Barbara Barrie, Bob Dishy, Edie Falco, more...
Director: Eric Mendelsohn
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Independent
Running Time: 91 min.
Languages: English
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Judy Berlin allows the audience to take a glimpse of a day at once strange and ordinary with the residents of Babylon, Long Island. Judy (Edie Falco) is an aspiring actress who is quitting her job as a "pilgrim" in a local historical museum's display to take her chances in Los Angeles. Her mother is a gifted but bitter schoolteacher (Barbara Barrie) who has long loved principal Arthur Gold (Bob Dishy) from afar. However, Arthur has a wife, Alice (Madeline Kahn), who's more than a bit eccentric and has driven him to distraction. Arthur and Alice have a son, David (Aaron Harnick), who like Judy has showbiz aspirations (he wants to be a filmmaker), though unlike Judy he has no idea of what to do about it; when Judy and David meet, could romance be lurking around the corner? First-time director Eric Mendelsohn has equipped this offbeat comic drama an outstanding cast, which also includes Julie Kavner, Anne Meara, and Novella Nelson. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
The Last Picture Show
Influential Peter Bogdanovich film also beautifully shot in black and white and set in a dead small town

Sunshine State
Another fine showcase for the wonderful Edie Falco

GreenCine Member Reviews

Time Stands Still, Eclipse or No by Saroz February 4, 2004 - 2:01 PM PST
Judy Berlin is made up material that, quite frankly, would work much better on the stage. It has the dialogue-heavy, introspective qualities of some of the best theatre. However, as a film, it's more than slightly taxing; events move at a snail's pace, and although the total eclipse is a nice backdrop, both physically and metaphorically (those who enter the eclipse reexamine their lives, and come out changed people), it's doesn't ever really feel necessary. The very best moments are with the late Madeline Kahn; this is her final film, and she beautifully plays a ditzy, pitiful housewife steeped in her own delusions of grandeur. However, it's not enough to save the film. It's not awful, it's just intensely boring.

On the off chance you happen to be a fan of the film, I will say in its defense that it has a very nice DVD presentation, which is a bit of an oddity from Image Entertainment: it boasts a good transfer, a reasonable commentary (dominated by the director), cut scenes, and the director's 1992 short film "Through an Open Window."

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.57)
37 Votes
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Sundance Institute's Feature Film Program
"The Institute created the program in 1981 to support next-generation filmmakers, and has at its core the Screenwriting and Filmmaking Laboratories." (Films released on DVD as of May 28, 2004; presumably in order of lab attendance.)

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