A dying mother's (Anne Bancroft) last wish to meet Greta Garbo costs her son (Ron Silver) his job, his marriage and his dignity. Carrie Fisher also stars in this slice-of-life film from director Sidney Lumet.
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Her son does not disappoint in his aims to fulfill his mother's wishes, but puts his own professional and personal life in jeopardy to see his mother's dreams come true.
We see his mother's strength, we see the woman he married, we see the woman that intrigues him, we see characters who are from the New York film industries days or yore. That heady time when the likes of Gretta Garbo were seen on many a movie poster and in many a movie. When fame was not an empty purse, but an actual commodity, and people, for good or ill, looked up to their onscreen idols thesping roles for public enjoyment.
That's the woman Anne Bancroft's character wants to meet. But Garbo, true to her real life reputation in this film, is a recluse, and hides herself away so as not to let others indulge in her past fame and glory, forever preserved on moving images.
I saw this film on HBO all those years ago a year or two after it first hit the theaters, and enjoyed it very much. The reason I enjoyed it is because it's slow and intimate. The lighting is not overstated, there're no overly dramatic moments, there's a softness not just visually but storywise to the whole film, in spite of Bancroft's stalwart and confrontational character.
It's a film about a mother seeing her son evolve, all the while she herself strives to see her own desires come true. And it's about a son's love for the strong woman that loved him and raised him.
It's a very touching film. One that I think all true sons should watch and treasure.
A bit of a warning, you may not agree with all of the son's actions and decisions, but even if you disagree with what he decides to to do, perhaps you might nod at his affections and why he did what he did. It's that kind of a movie.
Of course when I saw Anne Bancroft would be in it I thought it must be good...but it greatly exceeded my expectations. She and Mr. Silverman gave excellent performances, playing characters who were filled with wonderful attributes.
Also enjoyed the quirky, unforgettable performances given by Ms. Fisher and Mr. Fierstein.
As for the plot, it was a very touching story about people being true to themselves and how deeply loving relationships are so important.
Watch this film if you haven't already. It will remind you of what is important in life.