That Cold Day in the Park - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

That Cold Day in the Park Reviews

Page 1 of 1
October 22, 2015
I must be the only person who loves this film. Sandy Dennis's monologue on the bed is so powerfully melancholy and fascinating.
December 13, 2014
***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
Super Reviewer
½ August 29, 2014
An irregular psychological drama that is well made in some aspects (especially the cinematography and editing) but not so successful in its direction, as it fails to engage and create the impact that one would expect from this story of deranged loneliness and manipulation.
March 8, 2013
a pretty intense movie with great performances all around. Sandy Dennis is the main highlight. It's one of those movies that has to be seen!
March 2, 2013
I can't believe the critics on rottentomatoes : this movie is just a masterpiece. Brillantly directed by Bob Altman and played by Sandy Dennis, it's one of the most gripping movie and before it's time movie that i've seen in a long time. Don't miss it !
February 23, 2013
If I were to describe this to you, you wouldn't believe me.
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2011
"That Cold Day in the Park" is historically interesting as one of director Robert Altman's earliest films, but its main virtues are the story and Sandy Dennis' complex performance.

Dennis enters the film in her usual insecure, whiny guise playing Francis, a lonely woman who has aged beyond her years. She has a nice, inherited apartment but mostly knows older people and has few friends. One rain-soaked day, she spots a handsome guy (Michael Burns) shivering on a park bench below her window. After he lingers there for hours, she assumes he is homeless and generously calls him inside for a bath and meal. He turns out to be mute, which only adds to his pitiable traits. She invites him to temporarily stay in her extra room.

Further details shouldn't be revealed, but this initially sweet friendship darkens into a psychological duel in which we wonder whom to side with: Francis, who exploits her new roommate for companionship, or the unnamed lad, who exploits Francis for food and lodging.

"That Cold Day in the Park" has some dull patches, but its climax is worth the wait. Dennis carries about 80% of the film and arguably deserved an Oscar nomination. As for the Altman factor, the primary glimpses of his burgeoning style are a small part for Michael Murphy (who appeared in several later Altman projects) and, more importantly, some incidental experimentation with overlapping dialogue. The most notable example occurs in a gynecologist's waiting room -- which itself might foreshadow 2000's "Dr. T and the Women."
½ October 30, 2011
A little dull, but neither bad enough nor uncharacteristic enough to explain why this gets practically no recognition as an early Altman film.
May 29, 2011
The first half of the film is okay as set-up... the second half with the pay-off is amazing, with the ending being one of the most unexpected and disturbing in any film. I really responded to Dennis' cold atmosphere of character, even as Michael Burns was kind of a weak noodle. Not one of his best but a fine example of the start of the Altman 'style' (mostly with a few instances of overlapping dialog and social commentary themes.
½ March 8, 2011
Up to the third act I enjoyed this, it felt quite real, but it took a weird turn that I felt came out of nowhere, and not in a good way, so it lost points there. The transfer was also of an inferior quality, so that didn't help; fuzzy images, even fuzzier, almost indistinct sound. Desperately needs a remaster.
½ October 7, 2010
don't care what they say...I liked it
August 26, 2010
It's like watching a toddler taking his first few tentative steps. "That Cold Day in the Park" is glacial in its pacing, icy and sterile like a surgical theater. We rarely leave Sandy Dennis' upper class apartment, and soon we feel claustrophobic like her selectively mute houseguest. The ending is spellbinding, unless you've already fallen asleep. Altman would apparently become a master filmmaker in the short timespan between this low-key effort and the epochal "M*A*S*H"; perhaps a healthy streak of anarchic humor was just what he needed to hit the ground running.
½ April 9, 2010
Spectacular Kovacs' cinematography with long takes and zooms, plus fine performances by a perfectly cast Dennis and Murphy. Typical simultaneous conversations capture elements of gender and class anxiety in a nice dinner party scene, a hipster cafe and especially a diaphragm fitting sequence. The gender role reversal from the typical scenario works well, as does the absence of typical suspense techniques in terms of audio, jump cuts, etc. Not necessarily one of Altman's greatest films, but an absurd oversight in terms of availability.
½ December 16, 2009
Well I took this film seriously and it's a nice effort from Robert Altman. I don't think this is a film everyone would like but I enjoyed the picture, it has some creepy moments, its funny, and it's perverted. The best scene is when Sandy Dennis's character goes to some doctors office to see if she's pregnant and she's waiting at the waiting rooom and Altman uses his overlapping/people talking outside from a window trademarks and its a great little scene because I felt a taste of reality hearing mature women talk about men and sexual fantasies.
June 3, 2009
vi esse filme na bandeirantes por acidente
½ April 27, 2009
Sandy Dennis is utterly spellbinding in this early Robert Altman film in which she plays a rather, ahem, troubled single woman who takes in an attractive young male stranger after seeing him sitting on a park bench in the rain. "That Cold Day In The Park" has a strong, unsettling script keenly focused on the psychological abnormality of its fascinating main characters, and contains some truly unforgettable twists. Shame that the film doesn't also present the viewer with unforgettable images to match: the camerawork and cinematography is often problematic, particularly in its gimmicky overuse of blurred images and viewing the action through objects, and the bulk of the film takes place in dark rooms that are too often just too dark for a film. Altman often seems to have problems with making the structures of his films work, and "That Cold Day In The Park" is no exception. After the film is over one can see the story unfold as a snowball effect of sorts, but while viewing it some good stretches of this quietly horrific film are simply painful, anxiety-causing and tedious.

Dennis' brilliant performance of an unforgettable character shines through Altman's directorial drawbacks, though the fact that one can envision "That Cold Day In The Park" as a potential masterwork in the hands of a more assured director does cast this film in a disappointing light. As it stands it is flawed, but unforgettable.
½ December 23, 2008
Yet another fantastic Altman film lost to the sands of time, but this one is pre-M*A*S*H. It's a shame that I'm only the ninth person to review this film on Flixster. Shit needs to be re-released on DVD, asap.
July 18, 2008
Thematically like Images, but more like a play.
June 30, 2004
(VHS) (First Viewing, 9th Altman film)

At first I thought this was being set up as an unconventional romance story, until it hurtles itself into unexpected directions. Sandy Dennis gives a magnificent performance as an aging spinster too old to be attractive, and yet too young to be condemned to a life revolving around lawn bowling with her now-deceased mother's elderly friends. To counteract the emptiness of her life and the lonliness that's eating her away, she invites a teenage boy sitting in the rain in the park outside her house. She dotes on him, providing him with a hot bath, food, a place to sleep, even a new pair of clothes... and he never says a word, instead of peering at her with unblinking eyes. The silence of her new friend causes her to use him as a sounding board- at first opening up about her isolation, and quickly escalating until she is venting repressed sexual frustrations. And by this time her behavoir has begun to border on the obsessive...

The last film Robert Altman made before hitting it big with [b]M*A*S*H[/b], and it lacks the mulitude of characters that would mark Altman's style from [b]M*A*S*H[/b] on. Dennis is forced to carry the entire film (as Michael Burns (the boy) essentially plays a cipher), and she does so magnificently. Even at this early date, Altman's direction is superbly restrained, and the screenplay by Gillian Freeman is tightly constructed.

But as Pauline Kael writes in her review of the film, [b]That Cold Day in the Park[/b] has a "cold brilliance," but it is a film you can hardly wait end. By the time it reaches its haunting conclusion, the clausterphobia has become nearly unbearable. This is sadistic cinema at its best.
Page 1 of 1