Paul Mazursky’s excellent screenplay presents Jill Clayburgh in a most demanding role where she is torn between conflicting forces following the surprise confession of weak-willed husband Michael Murphy that he has fallen in love with another woman.
Daughter Lisa Lucas needs her mother’s support just as she herself is coming on to adolescent love; Clayburgh’s girlfriends, Pat Quinn, Kelly Bishop and Linda Miller, offer well-meaning advice not necessarily of the best calibre; blind date Andrew Duncan’s premature pass falls flat; therapist Penelope Russianoff’s probing strikes raw nerves; neighborhood stud Cliff Gorman, in an excelllent though brief role, comes to realize that the only thing worse than not getting what you want can be getting it.
Finally, artist Alan Bates arrives in Clayburgh’s life. A thoughtful and deep attachment evolves which survives the early resentment of the daughter and the lover’s increasing demands on her time. Resolution avoids the pat but portents for happiness are strong.
1978: Nominations: Best Picture, Actress (Jill Clayburgh), Original Screenplay