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Rachel, Rachel

4.1 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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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

Special Features


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.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001KP2J6W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,412 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rachel, Rachel" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 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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By A Customer on April 13, 1999
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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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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Format: DVD
Based on the novel "A Jest of God" by Margaret Laurence, 1968's RACHEL, RACHEL marked the directorial debut of Paul Newman, and boasted one of Joanne Woodward's most moving, searching performances as a middle-aged schoolteacher trying to rail against her inhibited personality.

"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.
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