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Rachel, Rachel (2009)

Joanne Woodward , James Olson , Paul Newman  |  PG |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joanne Woodward, James Olson, Kate Harrington, Estelle Parsons, Donald Moffat
  • Directors: Paul Newman
  • Writers: Margaret Laurence, Stewart Stern
  • Producers: Paul Newman, Arthur S. Newman Jr., Harrison Starr
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001KP2J6W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,242 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rachel, Rachel" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Rachel is a middle-aged school teacher living with her mother and no man in her life until a man from the big city returns asks her out. New problems arise as she begins to make decisions about her life and its direction.

Few first-time directors have enough clout to attempt an interiorized psychological drama about a woman's fragile sense of identity. But if your name is Paul Newman, and your leading lady is also your Oscar-winning wife, and the year is 1968… well, you begin to see how Rachel, Rachel got made. Rachel, 35, lives with her mother in a small town, stifled by routine and her own repressed tendencies. During her summer break as a schoolteacher, a few upsetting things happen in short order: the attention of a fellow teacher (Estelle Parsons), an intense encounter at a church meeting, and especially the return of a high-school classmate (James Olson) who is looking for--as he frankly says--a little action. Based on the novel A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence, and scripted by the sensitive Stewart Stern (no coincidence that he also did the Rebel Without a Cause screenplay), Rachel, Rachel includes seamless flashbacks to the title character's childhood, neatly blending the adult experience to youthful traumas. Newman handles this with skill, but primarily he creates an open space for Woodward to shine: there's nothing trite or easy about her performance, nothing of the traditional Hollywood "spinster." Not surprisingly, she received one of the film's four Oscar nominations, along with nods for Parsons, Stern, and Best Picture; but Newman's direction was not nominated. Also notable: a lyrical score by Jerome Moross. Today the film has some traces of a Sixties artifact about it, but Woodward's performance, and the seriousness with which the picture approaches loneliness and inhibition, are still admirable. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCEPTIONAL CHARACTER STUDY December 9, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Paul Newman made his directing debut with this story and he does a great job; whenever it threatens to bore, something always saves it. Rachel teaches by day, wearing simple, practical dresses and her hair up. By night she caters to her domineering mother by preparing refreshments for her parties. This sexually repressed spinster schoolteacher, however, gets one last chance at romance in her small Connecticut town. Woodward mixes just the right amounts of loneliness and sweetness in the leading role. Won Golden Globe and New York Film Critics awards for both Woodward and her husband Newman for best actress and best director respectively (they took home four awards between them).
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joanne Woodward is terrific! April 13, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is a quiet, insightful film that is blessed with a wise and wonderful performance by Joanne Woodward. Directed by her husband, Paul Newman, this film explores the plight of a 35-year old woman who has come to the crossroads of her life. She is a decent, lonely and loyal person who realizes that she must make a major change in her life, or continue an unfulfilled and sterile existence in a small town that offers her no chance of real happiness. Paul Newman really shows his skill as a director in bringing this story to life. Here, Joanne Woodward proves that she is one of the finest, if not THE best, actress of her generation. She makes the viewer care about Rachel Cameron; you feel her loneliness, her despair, her fears, and finally, her hope for a better future. Woodward's skill as an actress has always been her courage to portray unglamourous, real women with all their imperfections and foibles. This is a great performance. The ensemble supporting cast in this film is also wonderful. The sadly underappreciated Estelle Parsons gives a gutsy performance as Rachel's equally lonely school teacher friend. Kate Harrington, as Rachel's demanding mother, and Geraldine Fitzgerald are also fine. This is a great slice-of-life film that, in its own quiet but powerful way, tells you a lot about the human condition. Kudos to Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman!
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rachel, Rachel, A Triumph! May 9, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
It was so important to Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman that they make "a little film that meant something", that they didn't even take a salary from Warner Brothers. Also, they invested much of their own money to get its deep message across.

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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A First Rate Directorial Debut January 1, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a great 1968 movie, making a long overdue debut on DVD. It stars Joanne Woodward as a single schoolteacher living in a small town.
The film mainly follows her interactions with the other people in town.
Joanne Woodward is terrific in a performance that brought her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn, ultimately, ended up sharing the award for"Funny Girl"and "The Lion In Winter",respectively. The movie marked the first time Paul Newman, Ms. Woodward's husband, had directed a film. He was as accomplished behind the camera as he was in front of it.Mr. Newman also had a first rate actress with his wife. The whole film is a well acted character study,with Estelle Parsons also being a standout. With the loss of Paul Newman in September 2008, this movie is a reminder of what a talent he was. It's a quiet,thoughtful,well made movie that I enjoyed and I hope you will too. Drew Levan
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars echoes down the decades November 12, 2010
I saw this movie as a college student on a folding chair in an auditorium 4 years or so after it came out. 40 years later I frequently think of it and whole scenes are vivid in my mind. I'm almost afraid to see it again, it's been so clear to me for so long. I even remember the reactions of my then-boyfriend next to me. None of the other reviews I've briefly scanned here use the word 'feminist' but to me it was a profoundly empowering film. Sure, the lead character could be seen as an object of pity, but she was also figuring out how to fulfull her raw, desperately felt desires (for children, more than for male love) and doing it oddly on her own terms. When she tells her best friend (whose lesbian desire for her she gently acknowledges even as she rejects her) about her pregnancy, she explains that the father 'isn't real, I made him up' in a kindergarten-teacher voice that I found so poignant. She was explaining simply, kindly and directly TO HERSELF that her much-wished desire for romantic love was fantasy, at the same time that she was preparing herself, as she thought, to be a parent, her most profound desire. And her friend supported her beautifully. This was female power as I had not experienced it at that tender age. The hideous clinging power of the mother (yes, I had experienced that) was manifest and inescapable but Rachel absorbed her burden of responsibility into a broader vision of a fulfilling life and the closing scene left me believing that she succeeded- and without a man! I remember my boyfriend squirming and snickering beside me and how good it felt to identify with this woman who was feeling her way through the pure force of her own emotions through the labyrinth of responsibilty, desire, and love to find fulfillment.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Joanne Woodward was great in the role of Rachel
This was a well made movie. Joanne Woodward was great in the role of Rachel. I was engaged in the character of Rachel; I wanted to see what happened to her next.
Published 17 days ago by Anthony Vera
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done
Joanne at her best.
Published 1 month ago by Gerry
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good deal! Thanks
Published 2 months ago by David Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Conservative Rachel and libertine Rachel
Joanne Woodward effectively plays a bored and boring middle-aged school teacher who still lives with her mother at a funeral home in Connecticut. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Wuchak
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie that is family affair
I always liked this movie because this film is well done with great music and story line filled with childhood flashbacks that seem to work well. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Christina Panczyk
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't
I love to see Joanne Woodward act, but this movies was not well written. A single woman living with her mother, both are lonely, getting on each other's nerves and living in a... Read more
Published 10 months ago by SET
5.0 out of 5 stars JOANNE DIRECTED BY HUBBY
It just doesn't get any better than this. The always superb acting skills of Joanne Woodward and directed by Hubby Paul Newman, wow! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Timothy McWilliams
5.0 out of 5 stars Older Movie
Love this picture and have not seen it for many, many years. I was surprised to see it on Amazon and wanted it for my collection!
Published 16 months ago by Marie Dubois
3.0 out of 5 stars rachel rachel
i really chose this movie because of the area in which it was filmed the scenes were well done and of course the actors were supurbe the story line was ok but left something in the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by music lady
1.0 out of 5 stars Seriously dull and outdated
As a director, Paul Newman was a great actor. Here, because he was a big star at the time, they gave him the keys to make this now-dated mid-60s dud, starring his wife. Read more
Published on September 29, 2011 by Brad Smith
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