"Modern Romance" (1981)
Dir: Albert Brooks
Mary: “This is too painful for me. I can’t do this — it’s over.”
Robert: “Marry me.”
Discovering this film this weekend, was a bittersweet surprise. It’s funny, full of those stupid idiomatic phrases we use to substitute genuine expression of emotion, the Einstein bros going at it, stuffed giraffes, blindsiding breakups, obsolete technologies (“I love my vinyl records!”, waiting around outside a payphone to telephonically harangue your ex via landline, answering machine), late 70s athleticwear, Albert Brooks’ bodyhair raglan sweater, James L. Brooks, Bruno Kirby, George Kennedy, Quaaludes; and last but most important, great dialogue.
This movie, like Woody Allen’s romantic comedies, has obviously led the way for the contemporary tone, mood and humor that predominates in romantic dramedies, Whit Stillman, Noah Baumbach movies and all who follow.
It’s not the easiest film to watch, especially if you have ever been in a longterm on-again, off-again coupling, dysfunctional yet impossibly attracted to one another on every level. Nevertheless, it’s certainly worthwhile.