Kotch (1971)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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For his only directorial effort, Jack Lemmon selected his old friend and habitual co-star Walter Matthau to play the central character. Joseph P. "Kotch" Kotcher (Walter Matthau) is an irksome 72-year-old who lives with his son (Charles Aidman) and daughter-in-law (played by Lemmon's wife Felicia Farr). Kotch is far from senile, but there are times that his family wishes he was a little more docile and doddering; he insists upon expressing his unwarranted opinions on all matters, both large and … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Paxton
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 6, 2004

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as Joseph Kotcher

as Vera

as Vincent

as Dr. Gaudillo

as Miss Roberts

as Dr. McKernan

as Peter Herzenstiel

as Motel Manager

as Dorothy Ballinger

as Mrs. Fisher

as Receptionist

as Mrs. Pugh

as Mrs. Segura

as Film Narrator

as Stranger on Bus

as Blue Scarecrow
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Kotch

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

...very slow and very gentle...

Full Review… | March 28, 2014
Reel Film Reviews

Walter Matthau gives a compelling, Oscar-nominated performance as a grumpy old man in this melodrama, the only film star Jack Lemmon directed.

Full Review… | August 3, 2012

Audience Reviews for Kotch

It's very interesting to see Lemmon direct for the first and only time and decide to go with Matthau rather than an aged actor. Matthau of course always looked old but here he sometimes hits the mark and other times doesn't. I wonder if the lukewarm result prompted Lemmon not to direct anything else.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Grandpa Kotch (Matthau) may be widowed and old, but he's plenty young in mind, body and spirit. The only problem is that his family members (and everyone else) are too involved in their own lives to take much interest in knowing someone who's - well, old.

So Matthau spends his days having his chattiness and compassion ignored. When daughter-in-law nudges Matthau out of the guest room and into a 'retirement village,' Matthau instead slips away, Greyhounding up the coast to British Columbia, dropping postcards back home to his baby grandchild.

Matthau eventually stumbles into the life of a pregnant, unwed teenager (Winters), who's been shuffled away to another town, cast off in shame by everyone, to give birth alone. It was an all-too-common, now all-but-forgotten, practice. Matthau sure knows how it feels to be shuffled away by loved ones - so he ever-so-gently takes Winters under his wing. In so doing, he slowly forges for himself a new life where some are pleased to call him friend.

Heartwarming, quaint, poignant are fair adjectives regarding Matthau's delivery, sometimes almost saccharine. Think Hallmark. Matthau's life-long career pal Jack Lemmon directs; the film plays so gentle since this project's really all about Lemmon showcasing his dear friend's talent with respect, love and admiration, as a gift from one true friend to another.

There's a lovely reoccurring idee fixe called "Life Is What You Make It" from the keyboard of Marvin Hamlisch which, somehow, has been as passed over by time as this film.

Straight out of the early 1970s and it shows; this has to be the last time in the history of cinema where a film portrays a doctor making a house call. Twice.

RECOMMENDATION: A warm tribute to the talent that was Matthau. Enjoy.

TonyPolito Polito

Walter Matthau gives a brilliant performance, and Jack Lemmon's sensitive direction makes this film a winner. It's a touching story and very well written. It's too bad Jack Lemmon didn't direct any other movies, he did such a terrific job here.

James Higgins

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