Looking for Mr. Goodbar Reviews
I went back and read my review of the book, and sought out Roger Ebert's movie review, before I put my thoughts together. Apparently, the movie takes liberties with the character of Theresa. I still feel as I did on reading the book, though: this chick needs an analyst. Still, the movie is an interesting look at New York in the seventies.
Screenwriter/Director Richard Brooks has done very good work before ("In Cold Blood"). But, here, the narrative is all over the place. The film begins with Diane Keaton's character having waking fantasies, but they are awkwardly edited in. Brooks then has real problems in constructing the story throughout.
There was a novel, and I have no idea if it had the same problems or not. Regardless, Brooks should have thought this out a lot better.
Diane Keaton is fine in the lead. The acting otherwise ranges from seriously overcooked to passive-aggressive. The result of the writing and overacting leads to melodrama, where the movie could have told a much more interesting story.
For instance, the guy playing Keaton's father is this borderline-psychotic Catholic character who is endlessly screaming and yelling at his daughters when they don't toe the line according to his hard-right religious ideals.
A very odd disappointment that could, and should, have been a lot better.
Plus, you can see what's going to happen by film's end coming a billion miles away!
However, Richard Brooks' film comes across as a confused mess of misunderstanding of Feminism and homosexuality. Unlike Rossner's novel, which was loosely based on an actual murder, the movie often feels homophobic and misogynistic. If one is unfamiliar with the internal thinking of the original source material, the movie seems to be much less an historical cautionary tale as it does a study of a woman who the filmmaker feels must be punished.
When one takes pause and notices the fine performances of the lead actors - particularly Diane Keaton and Tuesday Weld - the viewer will pick up an almost "Time Capsule" worthy depiction of the confusion of the 1970's.
Though Keaton won the Oscar for her performance as Annie Hall -- her best work was in this film as an isolated elementary school teacher. Almost shocking in the graphic depiction of sexuality, drug use and the violence of the doomed main character, Richard Brooks' movie packs quite a punch.
Film Theory lovers will note that film directors and cinematographers have been attempting to copy the final horrific scene for years.
Another notable performance is that of Richard Gere before he became a name superstar.
Quite flawed, LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR is an unforgettably grim journey into the darkest corner of a moment in shared societal / cultural history. Most definitely a film of note deserving a "re-visit" if for only the acting and cinematography alone. The movie manages to hold a certain validity of an era and a New York City that many prefer to forget.
Warning: Not for the easily offended or faint of heart. Over 34 years old, LFMG is surprisingly intense, suspenseful and disturbing.