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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 116 Minutes
o Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
o Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
o Original theatrical trailer
“Like a Mike Nichols movie with more zingers!”
George (Flirting With Disaster, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) Segal, Susan (Five Easy Pieces, Play It Again, Sam) Anspach, Kris (Blade, Big Top Pee-Wee) Kristofferson
Stephen Bloom is a successful divorce attorney who just went through a messy divorce himself, due to infidelities on his part. Trouble is, he’s just now realizing that he’s truly in love with his now ex-wife Nina (Anspach) and the love is turning into an obsession to get her back into his life. Unfortunately for him, she’s found a new lover in Elmo (Kristofferson), and even worse, Blume thinks Elmo is a hell of a guy. This lopsided love triangle leads to an event that will change each character’s life forever.
"I just have the feeling that we’re being watched by 3/4ths of a head."
I’m not familiar with the work of Paul Mazursky as a director (although I’ve seen him in a few movies), so Blume In Love is my first real exposure to his work, and it’s a doozy. It’s a romantic comedy for people whose gag reflex is involuntarily triggered by maudlin plot theatrics and hollow characterizations that plague the genre as a whole currently, and instead would like to see a movie about relationships that shows them as the complex and adult situations that they truly are.
This movie’s meat and potatoes is delivered by its trio of main characters: George Segal as Blume, Susan Anspach as Nina and Kris Kristofferson as Elmo. They’re at the forefront of a film that is deeply entrenched in its characters and their motivations and psyches, and they all acquit themselves nicely. Special props go to Kristofferson for fleshing out a character that could be played up as a joke (as hippie burnout stereotype #26) that instead becomes a deeper character more and more as the film progresses. His final two appearances in the film are particularly laudatory, and rather heartbreaking.
Flock of Segals.
Segal deserves the lion’s share of the credit for this film’s success however, as the titular character he is in almost every frame of the movie and delivers an extremely human performance of a man desperate to win back the affections of someone who is quite simply no longer interested. It also helps that Mazursky writes some quality monologue material for him during the Venetian framing device that gets you right inside his psyche, informing all of the flashback material that comprises the majority of the film. Mazursky has an innate understand of this character, and the film feels all the richer for it.
About twenty minutes before the film comes to a conclusion there’s a transgression which will determine how one feels about the movie as a whole and will completely color your opinion of it from then on out. Personally, this reviewer was a little baffled by the blasé treatment the act received after it occurred, and perhaps sees it as a generational chasm between his era and that which this film is a product of. Another byproduct of the conclusion is a complete disconnect between myself and one of the main characters, leaving me baffled as to their thought process. Though it must be said that the conclusion, while some won’t be able to stomach and/or buy into it given what transpires earlier, is thematically in tune with what Mazursky is doing in this film, though: love is a glorious thing that is completely inexplicable in its nature.
One needs only to look to the peripheral characters to see this theme at work (pay careful attention (kinda hard not to notice, honestly) to the older lecherous gentleman during the Venetian scenes), proving that Mazursky has put thought into his work and allowed his message to spread out all over the canvas of his work. So even though the final act is something of a misstep for me, I’d still recommend the movie simply for showing people acting like real human beings who struggle and make mistakes instead of chess pieces moved strategically across a board from ‘meet cute’ at the beginning to ‘reunite and kiss’ at its ending. It’s a movie that’s flawed, but one that argues that we all are, as is love, but that’s no reason to deny the power it has over us.
George had perfected his ‘phase rape’ technique over the years.
First off, the cover. It effectively captures the strain of melancholy that runs throughout the film with the added benefit of a Nunziata-esque George Segal on the cover. Bonus point for including the “A love story for guys who cheat on their wives” tagline, making the purchaser aware that the movie has bite to it. The transfer is solid but unspectacular, and the 1.0 audio is adequate for a movie that is mostly reliant on its dialogue even with a couple of sections reliant on music. If you’re looking for special features, be prepared to take it like Mrs. Blume (that is to say, fucked by George Segal) ‘cause all you’re getting is the original trailer (replete with 1970’s trailer voiceover guy who makes the proceedings sound like a behavioral science filmstrip).
7 out of 10