Saturday, January 9, 2010

Review: Butterflies are Free (1972)

This was a beautiful, charming movie, which I enjoyed so much. Well can something be bad if Goldie Hawn (LOVE) and Eileen Heckart are in it? The answer (at least in this case) is definitely no.
It's about Donald, a young blind man (Edward Albert Jr.) who one day meets his eccentric neighbour, a 19-year-old and ditzy girl (Goldie) and Don falls for her. However, things get a bit different and difficult when Don's overbearing childbook-writer mother (Eileen Heckart) turns up.
The story is a very decent one, the movie is full of funny scenes and some remarkable line (especially the ones said by Eileen Heckart). In my opinion it would have deserved a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, because it was lovely.
The two young leads, Hawn and Albert create memorable and lovable characters with whom you sympathize and you care about them, root for them. I think the Golden Globe nominations were richly deserved, and even though Hawn's role has some strong simliarities with the one in Cactus Flower (Ok, it's nearly the sam), she's able to show a completely new side of hers. Edward Albert is also excellent and I was surprised by his achievement, because I expected much less from him, so he was the most pleasant surprise.
But Eileen Heckart steals the show. Completely. She's so great, so memorable, she's hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. Before I rewatched this movie she had been among my favorite winners, but now I think she's in my Top 5. Her line-readings are dead on, I mean who can forgets such lines as "so is diarrhoea" or her scene as the "evil witch from Snow White". But there's one scene when she completely breaked my heart and it's not her last one. My favorite scene with her is when she tries to persuade Goldie Hawn to leave Don alone. When she says "I can only irritate him, but you can hurt him" still haunts me. I think the only mistake in her performance is that she's too good and steals the spotlight too much and for some time I felt that the movie was about her even though she was clearly supporting. But that does not mean anything bad and her performance is still brilliant, I just said that she's too brilliant. :-) Although I feel, that this should have been her second Oscar (with the first one for The Bad Seed, if you remember).
The cinematography was great, although I'm not sure if it deserved the nomination.
So, I recommend this difficult-to-find movie to everyone, who wants to have a great experience. (I don't promise anything, but I'll try to post it on Youtube)
My grade: 8.5/10
Nominations: Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Eileen Heckart, WON); Best Cinematography; Best Sound
My wins: Most definitely, Best Supporting Actress, one of the best wins ever.


joe burns said...

I agree with you! Heckart is in my Top 5 as well.

Cheryl Elliot said...

Love this movie! Good review.