“You have this exalted view of me, and I hate it.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
Indeed, it’s exactly such fidelity to real-life relationship woes that likely endears audiences to both the film and the book, which collectively possess a small cult following.
In his review, Peary argues that while Heard and Hurt “may be real characters”, he “never believe[s] their responses to each other” — a complaint which seems to speak to the screenplay’s literary origins. While I don’t personally have any trouble believing in Heard and Hurt’s interactions, other elements of the screenplay — such as Heard’s repeated dealings with a frustrated blind vendor — come across as overly scripted. It’s also frustrating to see so little made of some of the most interesting supporting characters — i.e., Gloria Grahame as Heard’s loony mom (film fanatics will be thrilled to recognize her, and disappointed by how little screentime she’s given):
and Hurt’s put-upon husband “Ox” (with a name like that, wouldn’t you like to learn just a bit more about him?).
However, the film itself — expertly directed by Silver — is certainly worth a one-time look, especially given its minor cult status.
Note: Peary concludes his review by noting that he finds “the original [upbeat] ending” from the film’s previous release (in 1979, under the alternate title Head Over Heels) to be “more logical” — but this will be a moot point for modern viewers, who unfortunately won’t have the opportunity to compare versions.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: