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Searching for Debra Winger (2002)

Laura Dern , Teri Garr  |  R |  DVD
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Laura Dern, Teri Garr, Whoopi Goldberg, Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Jason Leigh
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000190776
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,904 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Searching for Debra Winger" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A thought-provoking documentary in which Golden Globe-nominated actress Rosanna Arquette talks to the film industry's most talented and award-winning actresses about the pressures they face as women working in show business. Features Diane Lane, Salma Ha

From the Back Cover

"Searching for Debra Winger" is a thought-provoking documentary in which Golden Globe-nominated actress Rosanna Arquette talks to the film industry's most talented and award-winning actresses about the pressures they face as women working in show business.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Film -- A Moronic Rating... April 5, 2004
By "efoff"
Format:VHS Tape
You must see this movie. As all the other reviews state, this documentary about women in Hollywood is first rate.
Often these types of documentaries suffer mightily under the weight of overwhelming ego-angst of the personality who makes the film. However, Ms. Arquette walks that very narrow tightrope about expressing her own feelings and concerns--sharing herself--without overwhelming the viewer. I have always admired her work, but I think this is the best film that I have seen Ms. Arquette in. I cannot praise her work in "Searching" enough.
The interview subjects are also beyond praise: Tracy Ullman talking about "dignity," in a way that is poignant--but still hilarious; Whoopi Goldberg, as the "smart Whoopie," talking about not having fame handed to her on a silver platter (the platter was platinum), and how her career choices affected her family; Martha Plymton describing her roles as being "the friend, with all her lines as questions ("How *are* you?" "Are you going to *out* with him?"); Ally Sheedy describing the main quality for women actors is reduced to "Ef-ability;" Daryl Hannah complaining about having to wear a short, brown haired wig to play the "mother" of a sixteen year old--when Kelly Lynch is the mother of a sixteen year old, and is no where near "mousy" by any definition. Almost all of the insights are terrific. Sharon Stone, in particular, I enjoyed.
But Debra Winger--I cannot be objective about Ms. Winger. She is one of my favorite actors of all time, having the talent to display just the right mix of tenderness, sensuality, spunkiness, and intelligence (emphasis on the latter)--if you don't know what I mean, then I won't be able to explain it to you.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
In 1996's "The First Wives Club", Goldie Hawn, as an aging actress, has a piercingly perceptive line courtesy of screenwriter Robert Harling, "In Hollywood, women only have three ages: babe, district attorney, and 'Driving Miss Daisy'". Actress Rosanna Arquette has decided to explore this unfortunately true perspective in her 2002 documentary where she speaks with thirty-five renowned actresses of varying ages. Even though it's doubtful any of them are facing economic hardship, their dilemmas would still make a worthy subject for a film, but she makes it such an overly personalized odyssey over her own tenuous success as a 43-year old actress and mother that she is unable to provide anything significantly insightful on the topic.

Instead, we are left with a film with some revealing moments but more commonly, a haphazard structure of interview snippets that seem to make the same set of points over and over again - the incessant struggle to find good roles for women past forty, the precarious balance between managing a career and raising a family, and the myopia of profit-minded studio executives interested in what teenage males want to see (at least according to film critic Roger Ebert, the only male interviewed). The problem is that Arquette, as a documentarian, cannot provide much-needed objectivity to her subject, as she repeatedly interjects with her personal experiences when she is not fawning over her subjects.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Arquette Bungles Issues December 31, 2004
I was hoping that Arquette, with so many talented women before her camera, would deliver fresh insights into the very real problem of sexism in movies. Instead, the inarticulate Arquette leads us through a meandering flattery fest ("you're, like, so amazing"), constantly emphasizing appearance by telling the actresses how good they look, as if her point is that actresses over 40 should be cast in movies not because they're talented, but because they still look sexy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Moronic movie that could have been very good October 24, 2009
Some of the interview subjects in this movie are interesting individuals, others self-absorbed adolescents, but Ms. Arquette is essentially inarticulate and doesn't seem to know how to conduct an intelligent interview. Her interview subjects offer some interesting insights, especially into just how shallow some of them are, but Arquette isn't responsible for drawing them out. The interviewees present their views mostly well in spite of Arquette's ineptitude as an interviewer. Most often her "questions" aren't really questions at all, but rather range from sycophantic exclamations to inane observations about herself.

Avoid this turkey.
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29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Navel Gazing October 12, 2004
As a feminist, I'd been eager to see "Searching for Debra Winger." Unfortunately, however, I'd agree that, although it has its fascinating moments, it's meandering and unfocused and also, on some levels, incredibly shallow. Rosanna Arquette becomes quickly annoying by calling everyone "amazing" and then the stars trip over themselves to return the adulation - they're all predictably taken with themselves. In fact, they fulfill the worst stereotypes of the self-obsessed and spoiled wealthy (even Whoopi Goldberg, although a humorous bright spot, openly admitted that she neglected her children because being a star was more interesting than being a mom). There's not much depth -- except by accident when Arquette bothers to talk to an intelligent and magnetic speaker like Jane Fonda; the interview with Fonda, in fact, is the highlight. When a table of Hollywood blondes, including a grotesque Melanie Griffith (lip collagen nightmare) lament that they aren't getting more challenging roles and are typecast by their looks, it seems more laughable than sympathetic. You mean, they don't realize they were hired for their looks in the first place? Surely there are other actresses who have aged gracefully and who don't utter cliches as if they've just been ingenious? Part of it, I believe, is Arquette's inadequacy in reining in her subjects and keeping things focused. When we finally get to Debra Winger, it's a bit of a let-down. I want her to challenge Arquette, yet there's more back-patting. And was Winger such an "amazing" actress, in the first place? I admit I wasn't taken enough with her ability to have given her absence from the screen much thought. I wonder more what happened to Brooke Adams who was very good (I did see her at the Academy Awards). Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars lot's of great issues to talk about
really disappointing. lot's of great issues to talk about, just wasted... the interviews- the questions and the answers (at least the ones they show) are just not profound,... Read more
Published 23 hours ago by mmv
4.0 out of 5 stars Great subject; good documentary, without great technique
I enjoyed this documentary by Rosanna Arquette in many ways. It's not about Debra Winger; rather, it poses the question: "Where do actresses go after they turn 40? Read more
Published 9 months ago by Frank
3.0 out of 5 stars The Hardships of the Rich and Famous
"When Donald left, I had to do EVERYTHING. Work and hire a cook, a gardener, a nanny. EVERYTHING. Ok, my studio's secretary got me a cook, and gardener, but I hired a nanny myself,... Read more
Published 16 months ago by John Doe
1.0 out of 5 stars Show business kids making movies of themselves
Full disclosure: I did not watch the whole movie. I can't imagine who could have done so. I thought I might be watching a movie that told me a little about Debra Winger, an... Read more
Published 20 months ago by P. Caulfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Articulate Women Honestly Addressing Issues
Two things about this review: I quibble with none of the criticisms I'm reading here. As a film, a documentary, it's deeply flawed. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Susan Price
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect dvd
great price and great condition-shipped promptly there were no scratches and it played perfectly.i am very happy with my purchase
Published on September 27, 2012 by benjamin d held
3.0 out of 5 stars Star Gazer or Work/Life Balance ?
There are two ways to watch this movie either as a fan of the many actresses or as a documentary of women who struggle to balance work and life. Read more
Published on December 7, 2010 by S. Dargin
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
Maybe my expectations were too high, but I thought I was going to like this doc a lot more than I did. Read more
Published on November 25, 2010 by Dana Stabenow
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag
There were many things I did and did not like about this documentary regarding ageism, women, and the double standard in Hollywood. Read more
Published on November 16, 2008 by Desiree
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and full of talent
If you are a film buff and are interested in the listed actresses,this film will not disappoint. It highlights an issue that is very real and pervasive: where are the scripts and... Read more
Published on November 16, 2007 by Lbleich
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