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Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr Tootsie is a delightful comedy, with 10 Oscar nominations (Lange won), 3 Golden Globes, many other accolades; Hoffman and Lange have superb performances. Funny and warm, with some refreshing social commentary.
I had never seen this movie. It was sweet and endearing!
I went into this film with high expectations because it had been referenced so often by Liz Lemon in the television show 30 Rock which I adored and felt was absolutely hilarious. I have to say that my expectations weren't exactly met as I didn't find the film that funny and the love story that was meant to capture me emotionally was underwritten and played poorly by the actors. Director Sydney Pollack also made one of my favorite films of all time in Out of Africa (1985) but this is very different territory for him and while he excels in showing the complexity in male relationships and gets some of the humorous moments right I can't see where his Best Director nomination came from. This isn't one of the best comedies I have ever seen but for the early 1980s it has held up fairly well and it's still a pleasurable 110 minutes of cinema.
Temperamental actor Michael Dorsey, Dustin Hoffman, is unemployable due to his constant disagreements with those he works with. In order to get work he dresses up as a woman and calls himself Dorothy Michaels obtaining a part in a popular soap opera that his close friend Sandy Lester, Teri Garr, had auditioned for. He begins to fall in love with his co-star Julie Nichols, Jessica Lange, while the two become close friends but their relationship is complicated by his secret identity and Nichols' father Les, Charles Durning, developing an attraction to Dorsey. He becomes a feminist icon as he starts to understand the struggles of being a woman and improvises on set to change the sexist attitudes present in the teleplay he works with. As his popularity soars his personal life is negatively affected and he begins to feel trapped as he realizes he will have to continue playing a woman for the rest of his life.
The most humorous scenes in the film come when Dorsey recognizes the difficulties of becoming a woman and takes on the affectations of a conscientious actress. Hoffman is helped by the fact that his co-star in most of these scenes is a young Bill Murray who employs his usual droll style to mock the pedantic nature of Dorsey in his new female form. This is where the sharp commentary on gender politics and the gags about a man dressing up as a woman meet one another and all of the scenes are played with a manic intensity that benefits the style of it's lead actor. The tentative romance between Les and Dorsey was also funny enough to watch even as there was some tragedy mixed in as we witness a kind older man trying to find love after so long without a romantic partner but it does elicit a lot of laughs and the film feels more assured in these scenes than it does in others.
You will laugh during this movie and you might even be emotionally moved but unfortunately the movie sometimes loses itself in wishy-washy melodrama particularly the romantic subplot. My issue with the character of Julie Nichols is that she had so little depth to her as we are meant to believe that she is beautiful, kind and willing to go out with abusive men but we are often told that she has these character traits instead of learning about them through genuinely well written interactions. Nichols' character is not helped when another funny, interesting female supporting character is present in the same film in the form of Sandy Lester. Where Nichols lacks in character Lester is full of life and gets a real arc in the form of finally accepting that her unreciprocated romantic feelings for Dorsey will go nowhere and she must continue to pursue an acting career. This is why it's so baffling that Jessica Lange, never my favorite actress, won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as she gives such a bland performance while Glenn Close was also nominated for The World According to Garp (1982).
This is a nice little movie that is worthy of a viewing but it's hardly one of the greatest comedies of all time and the amount of critical acclaim it received is slightly odd. If you are a big fan of Teri Garr or enjoy light comedies it will be enjoyable fare.
Tootsie isn't Christmas Vacation, but it's not Movie 43 either.
it's a really well done comedy especially the climax it's so perfect and ties all the loose ends together In such a brilliant way. Having all the side characters watching The soap opera and all getting the reveal at the same time was so well done. Also the cast is incredible with Dustin Hoffman practically playing two different characters and the side characters played by Jessica Lange, Bill Murray and Geena Davis. Jessica Lange is a very underated actress who deserves to be In more things. Bill Murray playing a more subdued role then his previous roles but he has some great comedic moments like his reaction to the climax of the film. My only issue is that it seems to drag a bit in the second act but the last act really picks up the pace.
Droll, and predictable. How about Hoffman with a lisp and a southern accent as he couldn't do a female voice. Just garbage/ It's not dated, it's just bad.
Undeniably has some great scenes (i.e. just about anything with Teri Garr or Bill Murray) but on the whole its a little too long and the romance isn't all that convincing.
Unmask The Voice.
Pollack has got his finest project out. A perfect balance of humor and comedy. Both illuminating and inspiring. Probably because it judges its own host, the protagonist, in the most subtle mature way possible. There is this one line that is enacted in its first stage by the protagonist, and then later that very same line by the antagonist. This is how balanced the world is. The director Sydney Pollack's romance between the characters is his sharpest knife.
He cuts deep with supporting characters, like when Hoffmann when dressed as a woman is forced just after he is being proposed by being sung in front of his apartment. That scene that may draw in the laughs is so beautifully haunting as the kraken is released in that very stage after being teased in the entire film. And these subtle nuances where some director keeps inappropriately touching and controlling his lead actress, is done so brilliantly that without any such loud intentions, he fights for equal rights like no one.
If Dustin Hoffman through his body language attracts you heavily with his performance, Jessica Lange in her completely opposite cloak oozes warmth and somehow the film has managed to be balanced again. This brilliant never-taken-for-granted concept is buoyant as far as the gags are concerned, after a certain while, this transformation of Hoffmann is considered to be the apparatus of the scene that is actually set in a backdrop of something beyond valuable than it. The supporting cast like hilarious Bill Murray, incredibly moving Charles Durning and brilliant George Gaynes have definitely helped in creating this ultimate illusion. Just like the pleased people of the soap opera viewers, Tootsie- if I may call her that- deserves the fame and respect she and he gets.
Bad and boring at all levels. Hoffman doesn't have to do much, and doesn't. It doesn't work. No one would believe this. Another person -- maybe...perhaps. But where was casting? If it doesn't look right, find someone else. The plot is boring. With a subject that could have been interesting, how could they drop the ball this badly? I saw this when it came out, and I recently saw it again, 40 years later. I felt the same way both times. This is just a bad film.
Tootsie is a comedy directed by Sydney Pollack. Really good acting mainly Dustin Hoffman as Dorothy. Very good characters especially Dorothy. Good and steady cinematography with some cool shots. Good setting with New York in the 80s. Very good set design especially the sets. Very good costume design mainly with Dorothy and her different outfits. Very good makeup with Dustin Hoffman. Good and steady editing. Very good music that mostly fits the scenes. Very good comedy that makes me laugh. Good story that is funny and re-watchable. Over all I give it a 7/10