Director Martin Ritt has just the right touch to keep Murphy’s Romance, a fairly predictable love story, from lapsing into gushy sentimentality of cliches. Unfortunately, this sweet and homey picture which casts two very decent actors (Sally Field and James Garner) in two very decent roles, falls far short of compelling filmmaking.
Field plays a divorced mother who is determined to make a living as a horse trainer on a desolate piece of property on the outskirts of a one-street town in rural Arizona. On practically her first day in the area, she meets Murphy, a widower who is the town’s pharmacist and local good guy. He takes a liking to her almost immediately, but it isn’t much later until her n’er-do-well former husband, Brian Kerwin, rides back into her life.
What unfolds is how the Field, Garner and Kerwin triangle is resolved with Field leaning toward Garner the whole time.
1985: Nominations: Best Actor (James Garner), Cinematography