pretty standard drama in a lot of ways. meryl streep’s performance was, without a doubt, the best aspect of the film. the dynamic between the three primary characters was interesting because you have the jew (kline) who is the most abusive of the three yet he refers to macnicol as a southern lyncher. then you have streep who is an actual victim of the holocaust yet she is not jewish (she’s polish), but her father was actually an anti-Semite. then you have macnicol who, stereotype would dictate, is most likely to be a bigoted abuser because he’s from the south, yet he’s the most polite and level-headed of the three.
the first half of the film is just about the three of them living in nyc and developing their friendship. the second half of the film reveals kline as a certifiable nutcase and streep as a holocaust victim. from a storytelling point of view the second half takes quite the detour and it threw me off a bit. it’s a big shift to go from a balanced film about three people in nyc to a film solely about streep in nazi germany. oddly, i felt it strengthened her performance, but weakened the film.
ultimately i think that that this is the kind of film that is hard for me to like. kramer vs. kramer, ordinary people, sophie’s choice…there are certainly more, but these films stick out as late 70s, early 80s dramas that showcase their casts and are respectable, but not necessarily likable; at least for me. they’re just a bit too weepy.