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Romance and Cigarettes Reviews

Page 1 of 48
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

January 3, 2012
I love John Turturro so it really pains me to report that he misses the mark quite badly with this film - it's not a terrible film but it is pretty bad compared to how it should have turned out. I loved the acting - Gandolfini & Winslet in particular, I loved the singing and dancing - an unexpected surprise and I loved the way it was directed, very cool and stylish. It's just that the story drags like a one legged horse, yes its surreal non-liner narrative was interesting and fun in parts, but for the most part, it was frustrating, silly and not particularly entertaining. I really don't like writing bad things about this film, I guess because I like everyone involved and i really wanted to like it. Aw well, I hope he keeps directing, I've been meaning to catch up with Passione as it looks good!
Alice S

Super Reviewer

June 14, 2011
In agreement with Jim Hunter, unless you're Paul Thomas Anderson, having actors sing along with a recording of a song IS "remarkably lame." And especially since so much of Turturro's spoken dialogue has such intriguing rhythms (Kitty's "deep" poem), he should have gone the extra mile and hired a real composer. As is, the songs aren't as thematically relevant as the ones in, say Singin' In the Rain or Moulin Rouge, exemplars of this musical subgenre in which popular songs are put into a movie instead of originally written for it.

Kate Winslet though. Man, has she got that va-va-vavoom! Love her trashy accent, her trashy dancing, her trashy talk.

Super Reviewer

April 6, 2011
An adulterous man deals with his unpredictable mistress and vengeful wife ... with songs.
When I read the basic genre details about this movie, I was excited to see John Turturro's audacious musical, but I hardly consider this a real musical. After all, almost all the actors, with the exception of Mandy Moore, sing along with a recording of the song. Am I the only one who sees this as remarkably lame?
Structurally, this film is a mess. We are introduced to the offending mistress way too late into the film, and when we're meant to feel for her and suspect that she has true feelings for the adulterous man, it's too late for us to have any emotional attachment. Likewise, the subplots involving Mandy Moore's character and Cousin Bo's laments come in too late so that they seem like diverging storylines, not foils nor a complete exploration of the main characters' lives.
Overall, the plot of Romance and Cigarettes seems like as if everybody in the neighborhood had an idea, and every idea found its way into the script with little coherence.

Super Reviewer

May 26, 2010
Imagine,if you will, a college film school assignment to create a modern day musical ground in the late 50's and early 60's. Imagine if the student putting together such a film was able to pull in some serious heavy hitters, from Gandolfini and Walken, to Surandon and Winslett. Imagine the possibilities... I'm sure that somewhere in time, worlds collide and a film like this gets made - in part genious, in part juvinile hackism, in part serious drama and in part farcical over the top fun. Thus I give you Romance and Cigarettes, which prooves that John Turturro probably smoked too much pot in college - yet holds within it something almost magical.

Garbagemen dancing to "A World Without Love" probably says all you really need to know - it's brilliant, but at the same time it's almost laughably obvious that someone is yanking your chain *wink, wink*.

Christopher Walken channeling Elvis and then later crooning along with Tom Jones on Dalilah. Susan Surandon grooving along with the Dusty Springfield version of "Piece of My Heart", while Eddie Izzard backs her up on church organ - all you can say is "wow", especially when the tune switches into the Joplin version, with Surandon howling like a cat in heat.

Through it all there are so many things that just don't mesh and charactors who aren't fully developed. Wasted are Aida Turturro and Mary-Louise Parker, playing Surandon's children (although there is a humerous moment where they are in a girl band singing "I Want Candy" as Bobby Canaval strutts like a peacock (and his "Hot Pants" is hilarious).

Making it all worthwhile (aside from some very nice photography from the always stellar Tom Stern (see just about every Eastwood film ever made - Stern is always there), is a guttsy, no holds barred romp by Kate Winslett as the red headed embodiment of carnal love. She's bold and bawdy, with a wonderful accent - but when the film has to resort to a cat fight between Kate and Surandon - well, that just shows how wrong some of the choices were.

I'm sure that the principal actors had a ball with this, but really, the film can't be taken seriously, though I think that serious was somewhere in its resume.

An A for trying, a C in execution.

Super Reviewer

January 16, 2010
I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. Going into it, I didn't know what to expect, but I hoped for good things given the cast. Turturro is an interesting writer/director. I'd like to see more from him. This is a musical, but a very unique and unconventional one. It's quite a bawdy and filthy movie, but also very funny, touching, and whimsical as well. Look this one up and give it a chance.

Super Reviewer

November 30, 2009
With a cast like this, I thought "how could you go wrong?".

And there are some truely wonderful scenes featuring most of the big names. In particular Kate Winslet, Susan Sarandon, Christopher Walken, Elaine Stritch and Aida Turturro did not disappoint on an individual basis. (also watchfor Amy Sedaris in a small role as the crazy neighbor)

However, the film as a whole is a schizophrenic mess. Lots of interesting ideas, none of which ever really seem to gel very well together.

While not horrible...I can't say that I'd recomend it unless you are a fan of any of the cast mentioned above.
Fernando Rafael Q

Super Reviewer

November 21, 2007
John Turturro's project, that suffered distribution issues (opened 2 years after it was made) and i can see why... It relies on a poor script, the direction is fine, but doesn't save the movie... Features some good songs and one of the best ensemble casts i've seen in my life, all of them did a very good job: James Gandolfini (finally, a performance different from Tony Soprano), Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet (great, and super sexy), Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Aida Turturro, Bobby Cannavale and Steve Buscemi... It was definitely a waste of talent, since the movie didn't measure up to the actors... It gets serious towards the end, but doesn't make up for the ridiculousness of the rest...

Super Reviewer

October 23, 2007
Pretty much the abused prostitute of a musical. Pretty filthy and ridiculous, and the 'crazy musical numbers' were just something to get through. The only good part was when Christopher Walken stabs a girl and fights cops with a knife while singing and dancing.
Lanning :

Super Reviewer

February 22, 2008
To loosely quote Susan Sarandon, James Gandolfini came out of himself in this movie. It's true. This may be the first time I've thought that Gandolfini had anything to give to the screen. Generally an average player at best, he rises to a new level of performance. I would never go out of my way to see him in anything, but this performance is special. To loosely quote John Turturro, Christopher Walken is always interesting. This, for the most part, is a true statement for me. But something truly "interesting" has happened to Walken over the years. While most actors seem to try to position themselves for leading roles, if they have the look and the talent, Walken has moved in the opposite direction. Since, let's say, the success of The Deer Hunter, it's been pretty much a long slide into solid character acting roles for him. He once had great potential, from my perspective, to be a leading man, and while he definitely manages to play one "interesting" character after another, he has fallen quite deep into some kind of one-dimensional abyss. Perhaps it is the "Oscar curse" of early success in Deer Hunter, perhaps it has something to do with the whole Natalie Wood tragedy. Whatever the reason(s), he really just always is only an "interesting" caricature of what he once was or could have been. Is there resurrection in his future? Who knows. The only real joy here is Kate Winslet. Had I not seen her guest shot on Extras, I would have been more surprised by what she gives us here, but it is still pure joy to hear the words that tumble so effortlessly out of her mouth. As Gandolfini says, "You're a crude woman" -- probably the best line in the film. Although her character really exists in the realm of tragedy, the words she speaks and the moves she makes provide some of the funniest moments in an otherwise very average "musical love story." Please don't misunderstand me, flixster friends: I love John Turturro. He is gifted, and I am fan enough to think he can do way better work.

Super Reviewer

December 15, 2007
I didn't think it was that good but it was decent. A nice cast also in this film. From the Cohen brothers and John Turturro comes this twist on the not-so-ordinary tale of adultery and salvation. Nick (James Gandolfini) engages in a torrid extramarital affair with a younger woman, Tula (Kate Winslet), while his wife, Kitty (Susan Sarandon), grows ever more enraged by his behavior. As her world crumbles around her, Kitty grapples with her husband's infidelity, but will Nick ever realize the magnitude of what he's done?
Antony S

Super Reviewer

November 6, 2006
A disappointing musical, Romance and Cigarettes sounds a lot better on paper than in actuality. Gandolfini having an affair with a Northern redhead? Christopher Walken offering up dance-based support? Winslet allowed to do a regional English accent for a change?
But on the whole, Turturro's third effort behind the camera is a loose affair. Sporadically funny and very meandering, R and C frequently feels like an indie knockabout, a big joke lost on everyone outside of the production.
Having said this, Walken doesn't disappoint, not only making the best of very amusing dialogue but also performing a stellar version of Delilah! However, the best efforts come from the actresses, with Sarandon illustrating quiet strength as the jilted wife and mother-of-three, and Winslet understandably smouldering as a foul-mouthed sexpot.
It's just a shame the film has precious little consistency or quality control.
Mark A

Super Reviewer

October 4, 2008
I don't usually care for comedy, but this had me laughing all the way through. Snappy dialogue, great visuals, and the music just made the movie for me. The movie did take a serious turn at the end, but that only reinforced the message that actions have consequences and love hurts and betrayal hurts even more. This film was a departure for Turturro and the Coen influence was apparent. Great cast. Great collaborative effort.

Super Reviewer

September 30, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"Romance & Cigarettes" is a vulgar, crude and tasteless musical set around a working class neighborhood in Queens. All of which might be slightly excusable if this had been a cheap knockoff made by a young kid right out of film school. It is incomprehensible that John Turturro wrote and directed this mess, considering that he nailed the working class milieu in his directorial debut, the autobiographical "Mac." Even stranger, there is a great and eclectic cast on hand but they are unable to make any difference, especially considering that Aida Turturro and Mary-Louise Parker are cast as teenagers.(Steve Buscemi, Mandy Moore, Christopher Walken, Eddie Izzard and Barbara Sukowa are also in the cast.) The so-called plot involves Nick Murder(James Gandolfini) having an affair with Tula(Kate Winslet), much to the consternation of his wife(Susan Sarandon). In order to please his mistress, he goes to get a circumcision.(Aren't guys supposed to think with their penises, not about them?) But by the end, everybody comes to their collective senses and the movie at least partially redeems itself but by then it is too late.[/font]

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2010
The film isn't bad but it isn't great either. John Turturro has a good idea with the story of this film, but he didn't execute it correctly on screen. The film seemed like an attempt to make a Coen Bros. type of film like "Oh Brother Where Art Though?" That film was much better than this one. The film reminded me of films like "Everyone Says I Love You" and "American Beauty". Turturro does cast a great ensemble for the film. The problem with the film is that it feels unbalanced and uneven stylewise. Some of the musical sequence were great and funny and others were too over the top and not good.
Alec B

Super Reviewer

October 17, 2010
The most basic thing you have to do for a musical is establish 'the rules' of the world it takes place in. Are the songs part of that reality or are they the fantasy of one or more of the characters? Even the film Chicago (which I'm not crazy about) establishes this and this movie does not. That and the movie is all over the place, is it a comedy, or a romance, or a bittersweet drama,etc.? Its a experimental film to be sure, but its one that fails.
Yinalí R

Super Reviewer

December 24, 2007
I absolutely loved this movie!!! It's a must see!

Super Reviewer

February 19, 2008
I enjoyed this less and less as it went on, and even fast forwarded the last 5-10 minutes so it would be over. But what it does have going for it: originality and a game Kate Winslet. I just thought there'd be more music.... And I'm so tired of Christopher Walken and his unamusing, no-longer-against-type comedy roles.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

February 1, 2007
A wannabe "The Singing Detective" for the noughties, this gets props for having a stellar cast - Winslet, Gandolfini, Sarandon, not to mention the fantastic Mary Louise-Parker - but loses points for the sudden gear change in pace and story about two-thirds through, from which it never recovers (although this does at least allow for some good acting).

The film sludges through its final reel, and what is actually a failry short film conversely feels dragged out, because we haven't had enough time with all the characters (Gandolfini and Sarandon aside, the other players are mostly pushed to the background). Still worth a watch though.
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