Mistress (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mistress (1991)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Mistress Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Successful character actor Barry Primus spent seven years trying to get financing for his feature debut as a writer-director, Mistress. In the film, a once-promising writer-director, Marvin Landisman (Robert Wuhl), who now directs instructional videos, is sitting home one night, watching his own print of Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion, when he gets a strange phone call. A producer, Jack Roth (Martin Landau), formerly a bigwig at Universal, tells Marvin he was cleaning out his office when he came across Marvin's old script, "The Darkness and the Light." Jack claims he can get financing to make the film, and agrees to Marvin's stipulation that he be attached to direct. They "take a meeting" at a low-rent diner, and Jack brings along a gung-ho novice screenwriter, Stuart (Jace Alexander), to help Marvin polish the script. They meet with three potential backers, played by Eli Wallach, Danny Aiello, and Robert DeNiro, each one more meddlesome than the last, and each with a girlfriend (played by Tuesday Knight, Jean Smart, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, respectively) whom they demand be cast in the film. At first, Marvin adamantly resists changing his serious, downbeat, and very personal script, about an painter who commits suicide, rather than betray his ideals. But eventually, Marvin gets caught up in the momentum of actually getting his dream project made, and starts compromising. He agrees to cast the three women; he agrees to make the script funnier and sexier; he even agrees to change the painter to a photographer to please his backers. Laurie Metcalf plays Marvin's long-suffering wife, and Christopher Walken has a cameo as a tortured actor. Mistress was the first film produced by DeNiro's independent production company, Tribeca Films.more
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Barry Primus, J.F. Lawton
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 23, 1999
Live Home Video


Eli Wallach
as Lieberhoff
Laurie Metcalf
as Rachel Landisman
Jean Smart
as Patricia Riley
Christopher Walken
as Warren Zell
Michael F. Kelley
as Guard at Gate
Tomas R. Voth
as Stagehand
Mary Mercier
as Shelby's Waitress
Chuck Lowe
as Bernie
Frida S. Aradottir
as Mrs. Evan Wright
Raphaela Rose Primus
as Raphaela Wright
Stefan Gierasch
as Stratland Sr.
Chuck Low
as Benrie
Michael Kelley
as Guard at Gate
Kathleen Johnson
as Party Guest
Leata Galloway
as Mitch's Singing Stud...
Nina Small
as Mitch's Singing Stud...
Tim Bagley
as Mitch's Singing Stud...
Kate Lang Johnson
as Party Guest
Byron Simpson
as Mitch's Singing Stud...
Debbie James
as Mitch's Singing Stud...
Dawn Hopper
as Mitch's Singing Stud...
Deirdre Hade
as Party Goer
Peter Kalos
as Party Goer
Gretchen Becker
as Hamburger Girl
Eileen Wilkinson
as Astrologer
Kate Johnson
as Party Guest
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Mistress

Critic Reviews for Mistress

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (7)

Can't seem to decide if it's supposed to be a comedy about Hollywood small-timers trying to get an indie pic off the ground, or a somber drama in which greed and lust overwhelm art.

Full Review… | May 16, 2008
Top Critic

The gags are too obvious; the conflict between art and money is hackneyed; and the plot goes badly off the rails in the later reels.

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

"Mistress" abounds with sharp comic performances that never stray into caricature or sentimentality.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Seeing Mistress is like getting a bad table at the in Hollywood restaurant. You're eavesdropping on all the dull conversations.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Primus brings a scruffy intimacy to "Mistress," which distinguishes it still further from "The Player" with its palmy California setting.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Although it's never worse than watchable, the story barely expands beyond its own boundaries. It starts off appealingly small -- the way the old Albert Brooks movies used to. But it stays small.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Mistress


I appreciate this film more and more.

Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

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