Saturday 13 January 2024

Movie Review: The Four Seasons (1981)

Genre: Romantic Comedy  
Director: Alan Alda  
Starring: Alan Alda, Carol Burnett, Len Cariou, Sandy Dennis, Jack Weston, Rita Moreno, Bess Armstrong  
Running Time: 107 minutes  

Synopsis: Middleclass married couples Jack and Kate (Alan Alda and Carol Burnett), Nick and Anne (Len Cariou and Sandy Dennis), and Danny and Claudia (Jack Weston and Rita Moreno) are long-term friends and always vacation together. During a spring cottage vacation, wealth-obsessed Nick reveals his desire to divorce Anne, a pensive artist. The couples meet again for a summer yachting trip, and Nick shows up with new young girlfriend Ginny (Bess Armstrong), disrupting the friendship rhythms.

What Works Well: Director and writer Alan Alda efficiently introduces a set of individuals with credible traits, and wraps them in a blanket of easy friendship. Dynamics are expressed through banter, familiar avoidance, truncated conversations, quiet judgment, silence, and stares. Aided by sharp writing, Jack (the over-analytical lawyer), Nick (the vain insurance agent), and Danny (the obsessive dentist) slip into a steady current of humour. Alda opens each of four chapters with beautiful landscapes and good use of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.

What Does Not Work As Well: The three husbands are notably better defined than their wives, with Rita Moreno's Claudia suffering the most neglect. The travails of rich people are of ultimately little relevance. 

Conclusion: Friendship ups and downs through the lens of laughs.

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