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Crossing Delancey

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Isabelle Grossman (Irving) leads a happy single life. She works at an independent bookstore, and has a few friends. A Jewish woman, her connection to her past, is her grandmother Bubbie Kantor (Bozyk). Seeing her granddaughter's willing loneliness, Bubbie decides to get matchmaker Hannah Madelbaum (Miles) to arrange a meeting for Isabelle between her and a pickle vendor named Sam Posner (Riegert). Sam is competing for her affections with a pretentious European author named Anton Maes (Krabbe). In the end, small-time wins out over big... Or does it?

This movie stands out as one of the great romances of the 80s. Unfortunately, not too many people have heard of it. When you think of 80s romance movies, it seems like the only titles you hear about are movies like "Pretty In Pink" or "When Harry Met Sally". These movies present love in black-and-white terms by virtue of their endings. Movies like this say that either the guy gets the girl ("Can't Buy Me Love" and "Top Gun" come to mind) or the girl ditches the guy for various reasons ("Lucas" and "The Last American Virgin" spring to the forefront on this one). This movie presents love the way real life presents it. Love isn't black-and-white... It just is.

Isabelle works in a bookstore. To me, that means the Elvis Costello song "Everyday I Write The Book" is apropriate when talking about this movie. Both the movie and the song present love in the manner of a book with an open ending. Just because it ends on a happy note doesn't mean it will stay that way. Characters come and go.

Unexpected plot developments occur. Even divorce and death can't end the book as it continues its' genesis, shifting the focus to new characters. In that manner, love has been an open book that started with the Bible and has continued on through the years up to the minutes you read this and into the years beyond that.

I feel that Susan Sandler's script captured New York City in a fantasy-like manner. It definitely isn't as happy-go-lucky as the movie puts it. Also, I must compliment the cast. In particular, Amy Irving stands out. A great beauty, her face expresses joy, sadness, frustration and a variety of other emotions. Her voice is lovely to hear as well, wrapped about the funny yet poignant lines the way chocolate wraps around a caramel. Riegert holds his own as well. A brilliant comedic actor, he proves his diversity in this movie. Why do I say diversity? He was also in "Animal House". That's as different as it comes.

Still, it works in the end, unlike love.

Verdict?

It's a crime that this movie didn't get any acknowledgement by the Academy that year. This movie didn't even get a single nomination, yet pretentious and pandering claptrap like "Rain Man" took home the gold time and again.

This movie is a cracking good romance and a look at love the way it really is. I give it a 9. It's as close to perfection as a romance can come.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: A good script, good performances and a great soundtrack.

Weaknesses? The movie is a little mature. I mean, not in a pornographic manner, but in the way that it's unlike most 80s romances.

Our rating: 9 out of 10


Review Written by John Edward Kilduff:  Contact  |  More Reviews by John Edward Kilduff
Crossing Delancey