(Review originally written at 10 May 2006)

The greatest strength of the movie is in the fact that the main character is being played by a well known and much acclaimed actor. Hoffman was nominated several times for an Oscar before this movie and even won one in 1979 for his role in "Kramer vs. Kramer". This is not the sort of role you would expect an Oscar winning actor to appear in. All the more reason why this movie works surprising as well as brilliant. Hoffman prevents the movie from getting silly and adds some seriousness to the movie, even though the story itself is of course still quite silly on its own.

But it is of course more than just the leading actor that makes this movie work. The movie is also very well and clever written, unlike most comedies that are being released today. The movie doesn't rely on visual or comical situations but more on the cleverly written and directed situations and also the more realistic situations. "Tootsie" is a silly movie but not an unlikely one. Movies like this one and others like these from the same period are the reason why the '80's are often regarded as the golden decade for comedies.

It's not only Hoffman that acts fine in this movie. Besides the Oscar nomination for Hoffman, it was Jessica Lange who actually got to take the statue home with her. Also nominated was Teri Garr (perhaps still best known for her role in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind") for her role in this movie. Other fine well known actors in this movie are Charles Durning, Lynne Thigpen, Sydney Pollack himself Geena Davis in her first movie role and Bill Murray (I had totally forgotten he also was in this movie, until my recent last viewing).

The movie was actually nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, which is a real big achievement for a comedy. No way this could ever happen this present day, especially not with the sort of comedies that are being made now.

But still there are some issues that I have with this movie. First of all this movie carries the curse of almost every '80's movie, it has a typical '80's soundtrack which sounds incredibly dreadful now this present day. The movie could had also used some more style on its own. It's an overall pretty formulaic made and even predictable movie that still works fine and powerful enough thanks to its clever story and professional actors. Sydney Pollack never really has been my favorite director. Don't get me wrong, he did a good job with this movie and its story but his movies always feel like they are lacking something, mostly in its style and perhaps also pace.

All in all this movie surely will become and maybe already is a comedy classic, mainly thanks to the surprising Hoffman and the well written script.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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