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This incredible film from 1968 continues to stand the test of time. Woodward received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her sensitive portrayal of Rachel Cameron, a 35-year-old New England spinster who lives with her domineering, possessive mother. Rachel's world is very limited, due in part to her mother's constant nagging and neediness, and Rachel's own-self doubt. This is the story of a lonely, isolated woman who looks to find love with a man from her haunted past and how she breaks out of her shell. Early on, finding a man and having a child is the only way Rachel knows to find validation and meaning to her life. By the end of the story Rachel realizes that the only person that can give her true validation is herself.
Estelle Parsons also gives a stellar oscar-nominated performance. Parsons plays Rachel's emotionally tormented friend and co-worker, Calla, who is also lost within herself and is desperately trying to grasp at something...anything.
Ahead of its time, RACHEL, RACHEL also gives a positive view of lesbianism and acceptance. The fact that the subject of homosexuality was even addressed was rare for a major studio release at that time.
Paul Newman's directorial debut has a powerful impact. RACHEL, RACHEL is a melancholy masterpiece that should not be missed.
I will also add, however, that this film is very intense and meant to be watched with no distractions, as its message is meaningful; the symbolism is at times subtle.
If any potential viewer is the type that leaves the room to do something while the movie is on, and then comes back to pick it up again, he or she shouldn't even bother as its message will be lost.
"I'm exactly at the middle of my life, and this is the final ascending year", laments Rachel Cameron (Woodward). Unmarried and still living at home with her mother, 35-year-old Rachel has fallen into a rut and seems to be sinking further with each passing day. It's only after Rachel is reunited with a childhood friend that she finds a possible way to finally "break" into proper adulthood via a torrid sexual affair, but at the end of the day, the one person who Rachel really needs to accept and love in her life is herself.
Joanne Woodward is heartbreaking yet defiant in her performance as Rachel, a character who seems to nicely dovetail with her breakthrough, Academy Award-winning Eve in "Three Faces of Eve". Estelle Parsons co-stars as Rachel's best friend Calla, a fellow schoolteacher, whose own feelings for Rachel are blurred by neediness and confusion. The cast also includes James Olson, Kate Harrington, Donald Moffat and Geraldine Fitzgerald.
The DVD includes the original "Jest of God" short film, and the trailer. Recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Joanne Woodward does a fine job acting in this drama about a repressed woman living in an almost impossible situation----the plot soon reveals two women living in a small southern... Read morePublished 1 month ago by S. Allman
Did not get the movie I thought I was getting. This movie has Joanna Woodward in it. Where is Loretta Young and William Holden? Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kathleen Lytle
Didn't like this movie at all. Too weird, even for the 60s. I watched because Joanne Woodward and her daughter are in it.Published 3 months ago by Rebecca Lovinggood
Small-town school teacher (Joanne Woodward) realizes she's 40 years old, single and living with her widowed mother. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ann Sherry
One of the reasons this film was made is that Joanne Woodward suffered from the "Oscar Curse". Read morePublished 11 months ago by Stephen Rosenstein
This is a wonderfully sensitive portrayal of a lonely woman entering middle age. Loveless and inexperienced, she suffers quietly, living with a vivid imagination and keen... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Robert J. Crawford