Only When I Laugh (1981)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

In this pathos-filled comedy from Neil Simon, a popular actress finds herself struggling to cope with her own alcoholism and the deteriorating relationship with her teenage daughter. Simon adapted the plot from his play The Gingerbread Lady. The film is also known as It Hurts Only When I Laugh.
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Entertainment

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Marsha Mason
as Georgia
James Coco
as Jimmy
David Dukes
as David
John Bennett Perry
as Lou: an Actor
Guy Boyd
as Boxing Fan in Bar
Ed Moore
as Dr. Komack
Peter Coffield
as Mr. Tarloff
Ellen La Gamba
as Receptionist
Mark Schubb
as Adam Kasabian
Ellen LaGamba
as Receptionist
Venida Evans
as Nurse Garcia
Dan Monahan
as Jason
Tom Ormeny
as Kyle
Ken Weisbrath
as Waiter
Henry Olek
as George the Director
Jane Atkins
as Doreen
Ron Levine
as Gary
Rebecca Stanley
as Denise Summers
Nick LaPadula
as Bartender
Birdie M. Hale
as Super's Wife
Wayne Framson
as Father
John Vargas
as Manuel
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Critic Reviews for Only When I Laugh

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

Neil Simon reworked his play Gingerbread Lady for this tale of alcoholic actress (real wife Marsha Mason) and precocious daughter, but the result is just as stagy, schmaltzy and predictable, with the expected witty but utterly theatrical one-liners.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008

Belabored Neil Simon script with Marsha Mason.

July 13, 2005

Only When I Laugh is a film about family ties, friendship and coping in a competitive world.

Full Review… | January 31, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Quote not available.

September 8, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Quote not available.

February 6, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Quote not available.

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

Audience Reviews for Only When I Laugh


Lesser Neil Simon dramedy with a fine performance from Marsha Mason. The problem is that her character is so selfish it's difficult to sympathize with her, since she's the focus of the piece that's vital. The result is that you feel detached from the proceedings. Joan Hackett gives her customarily excellent performance for which she was Oscar nominated but the part isn't award worthy. Still since this was her final feature film role before her death it nice that she was so honored for her many years of work.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

This starts out as a good drama about a mother and daughter, but it gets more and more predictable as it goes on. The actors are good, and I like theatre themed movies, but this one is just okay.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Although this film has the word laugh in the title it is not a comedy, it's a drama. It's a pretty good drama too, it's a slice of life type story about an actress and her daughter. The movie starts out good, but then you realize how predictable it is, and that it's not so good. Overall, it's an okay movie, though, Simon is a good writer.

Lisa Spader
Lisa Spader

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