Probably sensing that this was her one shot as a lead, Julie Kavner (beloved for her TV roles as “Brenda Morgenstern” & “Marge Simpson”) hits a homerun in this dramedy about a divorced mother of two who wants to be a stand-up comedienne. Samantha Mathis also shines as her teenage daughter. Writer/Director Nora Ephron makes important points with wit and warmth. (JLH: 4/5)
Top Photo: After years of clowning around behind the make up counter, “Dottie Ingels” (Julie Kavner) leaps to the stand up stage. To make herself memorable, Dottie always wears… DOTS 😉
Bottom Photo: A divorced single mother, Dottie’s new stand up career interrupts the formerly quiet home life of her two daughters “Erica” (Samantha Mathis) and “Opal” (Gaby Hoffman).
Photo Credits: Kerry Hayes
Q: Does This is My Life pass the Bechdel Test?
This is fundamentally the story of a mother and her daughters 🙂
Carrie Fisher also has a great supporting role as Dottie’s professional coach, and other women who were not well known at the time but are much better now (e.g., Joy Behar) are also in the background in Dottie’s heavily female world.
I met Nora Ephron very briefly at a book signing for I Feel Bad about My Neck several years ago at Colombia College Chicago. While she was signing my copy, I told her how much I loved This is My Life, and I told her she should get it onto DVD so more people could see it. She just shrugged and said it wasn’t very good.
Then, a few years later, I read the chapter called “Flops” in her next collection I Remember Nothing: “And then the movie opens and that’s that. You get bad reviews and no one goes to see it… Life goes on… But that flop sits there, in the history of your life, like a black hole with a wildly powerful magnetic field…” (page 110)
It’s enough to break your heart until you see articles like this one by Lena Dunham–proof positive that Ephron’s pain was our gain.
One of the wonderful thing about movies: they don’t disappear and they can be resurrected when the time is right. I am delighted to report that This is My Life is now available on DVD and VOD.