Review: ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’

There's something terribly askew and misleading in the very title When a Man Loves a Woman (Significant Other, its original name, is no better). This contempo tale of alcoholism and substance abuse does have an underlying tenderness, but its core is sober, vivid and gut-wrenching.

There’s something terribly askew and misleading in the very title When a Man Loves a Woman (Significant Other, its original name, is no better). This contempo tale of alcoholism and substance abuse does have an underlying tenderness, but its core is sober, vivid and gut-wrenching.

Michael (Andy Garcia) and Alice (Meg Ryan) Green are the seeming paradigm of the yuppie lifestyle. He’s an airplane pilot and she’s a high school guidance counselor. They have a snug little San Francisco home and two well-adjusted pre-teen girls.

But the cracks in the veneer soon become obvious. Alice cannot face a social situation without at least one drink too many. After a near-fatal boating incident on a Mexican vacation, she promises to reform – meaning only that she will hide her drinking problem more ferociously.

The ambition of the screenplay is often staggering. It’s more a case study than a traditional three-act movie fable. The film takes on the logic of a bar crawl, veering toward the conventional only in Luis Mandoki’s direction and with some much appreciated excursions into levity.

Ryan has one of those rollercoaster roles that demands attention. Garcia, as the unexpected villain of the piece, is capable of inflicting enormous damage under the veil of good intentions.

When a Man Loves a Woman

Production

Touchstone. Director Luis Mandoki; Producer Jordan Kerner, Jon Avnet; Screenplay Ronald Bass, Al Franken; Camera Lajos Koltai; Editor Garth Craven; Music Zbigniew Preisner; Art Director Stuart Wurtzel

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1994. Running time: 124 MIN.

With

Andy Garcia Meg Ryan Lauren Tom Philip Seymour Hoffman Tina Majorino Ellen Burstyn
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading