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

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_9gm3ll8jmttmc3w4bmnmcurldl8

Guardians of the Galaxy

In many respects, “Guardians,” directed and co-written by indie wit James Gunn, and starring buffed-up former schlub Chris Pratt and Really Big Sci-Fi Blockbuster vet…

Thumb_ucbxqmvenx5y5smkgcyyx9ri1x4

Get On Up

Tate Taylor’s biopic of James Brown is frustratingly mainstream and safe. Chadwick Boseman makes a great James Brown, and all your favorite songs are represented.

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
Life Itself Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Me, Natalie

  |  

"Take some advice from an old pro," the go-go girl tells Natalie. "Don't make the mistake of thinking love in real life is like love in the movies. You're in apple blossom time now, but a time will come..."

But love in real life is, of course, like love in the movies. And so Natalie moves out of Brooklyn and into a pad in Greenwich Village, and who should be living downstairs but a gorgeous 6-foot-2, black-haired, clear-eyed hunk of masculinity who was a rich and successful architect in Connecticut but has come to the Village to do some serious painting and Discover Himself. And who could inspire him more richly, more fully, than loyal Natalie, who may be plain on the outside but has a heart of solid throbbing gold.

To this elementary description of the plot, only one thing needs to be added: It's good to see love in the movies looking like love in the movies for a change. "Me, Natalie" is as conventional and corny as warmed-over "Young at Heart" (fairy tales can come true -- it can happen to you).

The story involves Patty Duke, known as Clown Face in the neighborhood, who is promised by her mother that, never mind, when she grows up she'll be beautiful. But, alas, when she grows up she's still plain and gawky and should have had braces on her teeth.

She takes heart from her beloved Uncle Harold, who explains that boys look for exterior beauty, but that men -- men! -- look deeper into the soul of a woman. But then Uncle Harold gets engaged to the go-go dancer with the 40-inch bust. Natalie's parents arrange dates with obnoxious second cousins, but it's to no avail, and finally she flees to the Village in order to be herself: Me, Natalie.

The movie is uneven. There are three Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interludes when one would have done (a S-OLI, you'll recall, is when somebody starts singing on the sound track and the heroine runs through the rain. Or mist, or surf, or something, in slow motion to show how beautiful or tragic life is. Every movie these days has at least one Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude; they've been the newest thing for eight years).

The interludes are a mistake because they distract from the story; if Natalie is anything, she's not the kind of girl who goes mooning about in the mist. Occasionally, in despair, I wonder when a director will take courage and trust in his story instead of his gimmicks. No matter. "Me, Natalie" is a pleasant film, very funny at times, and the evidence in the audience was that women liked it enormously. And Patty Duke, as Natalie, supplies a wonderful performance.

Note: Why is it that all artists in movies are lousy artists? The paintings displayed by James Farentino in this one are pastel nudes done in the style of Northern Tissue wrappers.

Popular Blog Posts

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

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

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Scott Jordan Harris argues that disabled characters should not be played by able-bodied actors.

Comic-Con 2014: Star Trek Kickstarter Film "Prelude to Axanar"

A report from SDCC on the Kickstarter "Star Trek" film, "Prelude to Axanar."

Exploring Israel-Palestine through Movies: Part 1

The first part in a four-part series on what film can teach us about the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus