Funny Girl Reviews
The life of Fanny Brice, famed comedienne and entertainer of the early-1900s. We see her rise to fame as a Ziegfield girl, subsequent career and her personal life, particularly her relationship with Nick Arnstein.
Entertaining, especially the stage performance scenes. Barbara Streisand absolutely shines during these scenes. Funny, and with some impressive singing too. The remainder is reasonably good and engaging. Does get fairly schmaltzy at times though, and the mid-to-late section is quite dry as it concentrates on the Brice-Arnstein relationship.
As mentioned, Barbara Streisand is great during the live show scenes. She is fine during the other scenes too, especially as there are some musical numbers thrown in every now and again (it is a semi-musical). Streisand won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1969 for her performance (shared with Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter).
Good work too from Omar Sharif as Nick Arnstein.
Hilarious, touching, memorable.
Streisand is a revelation here.
The bloated parts are forgivable bc Babs is that good here - her signature role reprised from the Broadway stage.
Give it a bit too start - after the orchestra opening and beyond the title sequence.
Your patience will be rewarded.
5 out of 5 people...who need people..
Fortunately for us, fortunately for "Funny Girl," but unfortunately for the self-proclaimed icon herself, Katharine Hepburn, Barbra Streisand just so happens to be a star - a star that, incidentally, matched Hepburn's explosive performance in "The Lion in Winter" so well that the two ended up tying for the Oscar win. Now that "Funny Girl" and "The Lion in Winter" are nearly a half-century old, it's probably safe to say that Hepburn and Streisand are unofficial gods of the entertainment industry; but "Funny Girl" is the more important film, introducing the world to a new voice, a new actress, and yes, a new personality.
In the years since "Funny Girl," Streisand hasn't lost her bewitching zeal, but only a few of her following films have captured the same sort of youthful gusto of her debut. The early days of Babs, with roles in "What's Up, Doc?" and "The Owl and the Pussycat," bring lasting joy. Like many actresses that appeal to the Broadway inclined crowd, she is more fun to watch in quickly-paced adventures in comedy than sappy behemoths like "The Mirror Has Two Faces." "Funny Girl" is a snapshot of everything we've come to admire about Streisand - that immediate likability, that one-million-miles-an-hour comedic timing, those dramatic chops, and that voice. You can bet that the film itself is given the standard Hollywood musical treatment - but what isn't standard is the girl from New Yawk with charisma the size of Alaska and Texas put together.
"Funny Girl" is technically a true story: its leading character, Fanny Brice was, in fact, a famed Ziegfeld girl, and she was, in fact, married to Nicky Arnstein. But Streisand is such a ball-of-fire that we aren't paying much attention to Brice's accomplished (and melodramatic) life. Streisand demolishes every confine a characterization can bring. She's not so much playing Fanny Brice as she much as she is Fanny Brice. She doesn't act out a scene; she is the scene.
I suppose for the sake of a plot summary I should cover the basics so you know what you're getting into. The film travels across the life of Brice from the early 1900s to the beginnings of the 1920s, detailing her whirlwind (and lasting) relationship with show business and stormy marriage to gambler Nicky Arnstein (Omar Sharif). There's comedy and music and tear-jerking and romance and overtures and more hoohas that come along with the big-budgeted movie musical genre; "Funny Girl" has all the makings to become an epic production of the "Sound of Music" class. But Streisand keeps the film from getting whisked away into unremarkable giganticness. The film is about her, not its supporting characters, photography, or set design. Roger Ebert noted that everything other than Streisand is mostly untextured and artless. While this is partially true, I think, on the other hand, that if Streisand wasn't the star, suddenly the supporting characters, photography, and set design would seem bigger-than-life, extraordinary even. But she's like a blinding light from outer space running around a soundstage; you can only wonder why the items surrounding her don't spontaneously combust.
I'm not a part of the devoted fan base that refers to Streisand exclusively as "Babs" and lists "Evergreen" as their theme song, but I am a part of the fan base that recognizes her as one of cinema's most unique and versatile actresses. "Funny Girl" is a loud and proud musical, and Streisand is the microphone.