In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_abuse

Abuse of Weakness

An examination of power, greed, emotional manipulation and simple need that is gripping and powerful to behold even if you don't know the story behind…

Thumb_expendables_three_ver18

The Expendables 3

If you’re over 40, this is your “The Avengers.” As slavishly devoted to the old action films of Sly and company as any Marvel Universe…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Blog Archives

Reviews

Making Love

  |  

Arthur Hiller's "Making Love" tells the story of a couple that has been married for eight years happily married, according to the evidence when the husband has an affair with another man, discovers that he is gay, and decides to leave his wife. "Making Love" is limited primarily to the characters' sexual identities. There would be no movie if the husband were not homosexual; this film has nothing else to be about. Its characters, as written, aren't open to the surprises of real life, because the movie is single-mindedly about the specific nature of their sexual dilemma.  

Since we already know the secrets when we start watching "Making Love" (the ads summarized the plot), we feel locked in; there's nothing to do but wait while the movie marches through its lockstep development. The stages are predictable: (a) introduction of the ideal marriage; (b) the husband's secret homosexual desires; (c) the other man; (d) passion and deception; (e) the revelation scene; (f) unhappiness and acceptance; followed by (g) a brave new tomorrow. 

Every scene and almost every line seems to be programmed to make an obvious point. This movie has some of the worst dialogue one can imagine:
She:"What about passions?"
He: "What about supports?"
She: "What about betrayal?" 

The movie stars Kate Jackson as the wife, Michael Ontkean as her husband, and Harry Hamlin as the homosexual writer Ontkean falls in love with. Jackson's a TV executive, Ontkean's a young doctor, and their marriage (pre-Hamlin) exists in one of those Hollywood wonderlands in which young couples figure they can meet the mortgage payments if they start brown-bagging their lunch. No attempt is made to present the marriage in messy human terms; it has to be boringly happy so that Jackson can be amazed when her husband walks out. 

And walk out Ontkean does, after some preliminary false starts. He visits a couple of gay bars populated exclusively by extras who look as if they should be posing for an "Ah! Men!" catalog. He drives down an alley lined with shoulder-to-shoulder hustlers. Then Hamlin comes into his office for a physical exam (the most cursory and incompetent such exam, incidentally, ever presented in a movie). Ontkean is attracted, asks him out to dinner, and the rest is predictable, right down to the obligatory scene in which Jackson tears her husband's clothes out of the closet and throws them on the floor. 

"Making Love" is essentially a TV docudrama, in which the subject is announced loud and clear at the outset and there are no surprises. People have described the movie to me in one sentence as "Kate Jackson finds out her husband is a homosexual," and they haven't left out much.

Popular Blog Posts

Different rules apply

White privilege, lived.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Ferguson, Missouri: Third World America vs. Atlas Shrugged

An FFC looks at the horrible situation in Ferguson, MO and what it says about where we are and where we're going.

Retrieving the Grail: Robin Williams and "The Fisher King"

An examination and appreciation of one of Robin Williams' greatest films, "The Fisher King."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus