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4.6 out of 5 stars
Nuts
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2005
Badly neglected by both audiences and critics at the time of it's original release, NUTS is a film that is ripe for reevaluation. Based on Tom Toplor's 1981 courtroom play, NUTS is definitely a dialogue-based film with little Hollywood flashiness. Though extremely well-written (by Toplor, adapting his own work with Darryl Ponicsan and Alvin Sargent) and sharply staged and directed by veteran Martin Ritt, it is the cast whom is really responsible bringing NUTS to life. Barbra Streisand gives an absolutely bravura performance that should have earned her an Oscar nomination. Alternately hilarious and frightening, Streisand is always mesmerizing as she delves so far into character.

Richard Dreyfess is nothing less than Streisand's equal as her public defender. He too was robbed of an Oscar nomination. The supporting cast is a top-notch ensemble of professional character actors (Maureen Stapleton, Eli Wallach, Robert Webber, James Whitmore, and Karl Malden), all of whom work their craft flawlessly. NUTS' screenplay does indulge in the predictability of some of the typical courtroom-plot conventions a little too often, but Toplor's absorbing script still deserves high praise for it's fascinating exploration of what constitutes as normality and whether or not the insane should be required to receive treatment. NUTS isn't going to win over any fans of 3-cuts-per-second action films, but it leave lovers of thought-provoking, expertly-acted dramas fascinated.

About the DVD: The picture quality is dark and grainy, however, I believe that this reflects the film's intended look. The sound is fine, and it's nice to have the film's trailer included. Streisand's intelligent and entertaining full-length commentary is the main extra here, and it more than makes up for the disappointing tracks she contributed to the WHAT'S UP, DOC? and MAIN EVENT DVDs.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 2, 2003
"Nuts" is a must see for Striesand fans and anyone who enjoys a well written script and an exceptionally strong cast. The story of a high priced escort (Streisand) accused of murder and forced to go on trial to prove her sanity, in order to stand trial, is gripping. Her parents, who've had enough of her antics, want to send her to an asylum. Her state appointed counsel (played to perfection by Richard Dreyfuss) is compelled to find a way to prove her sanity to the courts as well as to his client. Perhaps there are no real surprises but the careful uncovering of layers of deceipt and mistrust is very real and honestly played out in this highly emotional and sentimental movie. I highly reccommend this film to all who enjoy good movie making.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Nuts was a hit off-Broadway play. Claudia Draper (Barbra Streisand) is a high priced call girl who has killed one of her johns (Leslie Nielsen). Her parents, Arthur and Rose Kirk (Karl Malden and Maureen Stapleton), just want to sweep it under the carpet by having her committed to an institution. But she doesn't anything to do with her parents or their scheme.

Her high priced lawyer quits after she attacks him. That gets the attention of public defender Aaron Levinsky (Richard Dreyfuss). The arraignment judge (Dakin Matthews) is displeased with Levinsky's wanting to take this to trial and only gives him the weekend to prepare his case for the sanity trial. Their relationship begins is a chess match of trust.

Levinsky gathers the evidence he needs for the trial and the sanity trail begins with trial Judge Stanley Murdoch (James Whitmore). The first prosecution witness is Dr. Morrison (Eli Wallach) who testifies that Claudia should be institutionalized. This followed by her mother Rose who testifies about her past. And then her stepfather Arthur testifies. During the testimony, Claudia first draws her stepfather as a vampire then her parents with no mouths. Aaron puts the clues together and discovers that Arthur was molesting Claudia.

The defense puts up its only witness, Claudia. Even under sedation, Claudia makes her points. The prosecution recalls Dr. Morrison and his testimony inflames Claudia and she makes an impassioned rebuttal.

Martin Ritt and Barbra Streisand assembled a flawless cast. The role of Claudia was made for Streisand. She has a field day with it. Maureen Stapleton is always a joy to see and she hits all emotional levels with this role. Karl Malden usually plays the stoic heroic man. This was an underrated performance and should have been garnered more attention. James Whitmore had a small pivotal role but showed what featured actor really means. And this is probably Richard Dreyfuss' best performance.

Martin Ritt was one of the great directors and he liked nothing more than a controversial film. This was a perfect film for him.

Streisand did triple duty on this film besides starring, she produce the film and did the musical score. Streisand has shown that she has a talent for scoring films. Before, she just wrote music for songs. This was a big step for her and it proved that she can do more than the normal performer.

If you like high drama, courtroom films or just plain good acting, this is your film.

DVD EXTRAS: Commentary by Barbra Streisand
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
When "Nuts" was released in 1987 both critics and fans panned the film. Hardly a blockbuster, to me "Nuts" is the best acting that Barbra has ever done. Miss Streisand plays a high-class new York City prostitute who kills a john one night in self-defense. It is up to herself and her lawyer, played by Richard Dreyfuss, to keep her out of an insane asylym and prison. The supporting acting is headed by Karl Malden and Maureen Stapleton, who play Claudia's (the Streisand character) parents. While the story unfolds during the testimony by certain people, many secrets are revealed in reference to Claudia's past, and we discover why Claudia became a hooker. "Nuts" is extremely well-acted and the direction is top-notched by Martin Ritt. More than a coutroom drama, "Nuts" explores human emotions in its characters and delves beneath the surface of the film's inhabitants. Barbra Streisand has never acted in anything as jaw-dropping as this, and you will probably never look at her in the same light. It is a wonder she was never nominated for an Oscar for her splendid performance. The DVD comes with the trailer and partial commentary by Barbra on certain scenes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2010
In this particular film, I was so thoroughly entertained and realized the scope and depth of the damage that a step parent can inflict on a vulnerable child. The consequences of the sexual abuse was the exact cause of how Barbra portrayed the character. This is an excellent example of what happens when this abuse is inflicted on a child. They are taught by the pedophile how to please and usually become very amorous, as a result of what they are taught.

The scope of the damage can and will cause the abused child to "act out" and the impact of what the abuser has done to the child can never be erased and/or disappear. It is the "best kept secret" in our society. The shame and guilt the child hides is something that haunts them the rest of their lives.

Barbra, in this film, portrayed the character perfectly and demonstrated the exact damage that occurred and how she re-acted to it, Richard, as her attorney, did a fabulous portrayal of a very savvy father and with no help from Barbra's character, ascertained very quickly what happened to her and cleverly extracted the information out of Karl Malden and the truth came out in a very affective way.

Brilliant performances by every actor involved in the film and all seasoned veterans in the film industry. In my opinion, they all deserved Academy Awards for the characters they portrayed.

I recommend that this film can and should be used as an educational tool for children who have been abused so they can see that they are not alone in this twisted, toxic sickness that is so firmly implanted in our society.

Kudos and accolades to everytone that was involved in the making of this film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 2, 2003
"Nuts" is a must see for Striesand fans and anyone who enjoys a well written script and an exceptionally strong cast. The story of a high priced escort (Streisand) accused of murder and forced to go on trial to prove her sanity, in order to stand trial, is gripping. Her parents, who've had enough of her antics, want to send her to an asylum. Her state appointed counsel (played to perfection by Richard Dreyfuss) is compelled to find a way to prove her sanity to the courts as well as to his client. Perhaps there are no real surprises but the careful uncovering of layers of deceipt and mistrust is very real and honestly played out in this highly emotional and sentimental movie. I highly reccommend this film to all who enjoy good movie making.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2006
NUTS is a great movie from Barbra Streisand. One of her best acting performances! The movie is about a high class call girl named Claudia (Barbra Streisand) who kills a client in self defense. Her parents want to avoid scandal by having her declared mentally incompetant to stand trial. After attacking her attorney, her case is taken over by a legal aide attorney (Richard Dreyfuss). Claudia doesn't do much to help her case, with her constant outbursts in the courtroom. It was a really well done drama, with an interesting plot and good acting all around.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2003
This movie is absolutely breathtaking. I cried like, five times in it. People who have only rated this as one star are entitled to their opinion, but I mean, this is a movie that is too breathtaking for words. I think everyone should have it, because it touches everyone. Barbra Streisand is one of the best actresses I have ever seen. Wow, just wow!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Nuts provides insight into the dysfunction created when a woman gets divorced, is alone with a daughter of her first marriage, and finds a new husband, forming a new family without thoroughly checking the character, background, and inclinations of the new male figure in her household.

Maureen Stapleton plays the role of the "mother" so desperate for companionship that she refuses to see the reality that surrounds her daughter. Living in denial, this woman emotionally "abandons" her daughter and is the culprit in the creation of a shattered self image that results on an apparently "mad-high-priced" escort, played by Barbra Streisand, who delivers a masterful performance as the accused of murder woman who must prove she is not insane to prove her innocence.

Barbra Streisand read the play by Tom Topor and decided to bring it to film and her portrayal of a strong willed woman, willing to call a spade a spade, non-yielding to the shame of her so called "profession" is simply magnificent. At one point, questioned as to what she does for a living, she proudly explains why she does what she does and says; "I know many women that hide behind marriage, not in love with their husbands, in relationships that are abominable, only to drive a Mercedes or get a Mink coat. I do what I do... as an adult... fully aware of my actions... and totally responsible for my behavior."

Richard Dreyfus plays the role of the public defendant, who reluctantly takes on the case in her defense, and yet becomes her confidant and the agent of change that helps this woman surface the shame of her past to become free of the burdens and liberated of the abuse inflicted on her as a child.

Without a doubt, if you want a film that produces deep conversations about troublesome topics... don't miss this film!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2005
Barbra Streisand has been one of the most talented female singers in this world, with releasing a slew of successful albums. It wasn't until 1968, when Barbra decided to get her hands on acting career to back up her singing career, when she starred in the film adapted version of the Broadway classic, "Funny Girl", where she played the lead role of Fanny Brice. After Funny Girl, Barbra took the lead role of many other films, such as "The Way We Were", "Funny Lady", "Yentl", "The Main Event", "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever", "Hello Dolly", and many others. But in 1987, Barbra landed herself the lead role no one will ever forget. That role, ladies and gentlemen, was Claudia Draper for the film, "Nuts".

Claudia Draper (played by Barbra Streisand) is an expensive hooker, who is arrested for the murder of one of her clients (played by Leslie Nielson). What the courts and police don't know is that what Claudia has done was not first-degree manslaughter; it was clearly self-defense. Claudia and her date have already had sex with each other, but her date wanted a bit more. After refusing, he became rather aggressive, attacking Claudia. Strangling her, Claudia picks up a piece of glass and kills her date, in self-defense. Her mother, Rose Kirk (played by Maureen Stapleton), and her stepfather, Arthur Kirk (played by Karl Malden), along with two psychiatrists, as well as the police have considered her to be incompetent, especially for attending the trial, forcing her to stay in an institution. Defending Claudia is Aaron Levinsky (played by the brilliant and outstanding Richard Dreyfuss). During the preliminary hearing, Claudia's stepfather has revealed a devastating secret to his wife, as well as, the court. His deepest secret is the perfect explanation to why Claudia has terrible temper, as to also why her childhood was so terrible.

I have seen a pretty good share of Barbra's films, but as far as I'm concerned, her role as Claudia Draper is her highest and most brilliant. Whether you enjoy her music more, or her acting more, you cannot deny that this film is her absolute best. If you have not seen this film, then I suggest to you strongly that you see this film and watch Barbra Streisand in her most serious and touching role ever.
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