MURPHY'S ROMANCE (1986)
To a tiny, sleepy Arizona town comes Sally Field,
a divorcee with a boy of 12, trying to make a go of a small horse ranch.
She meets, and is aided by James Garner, the maverick, widowed pharmacist
-- an original a la Gary Cooper or Jimmy Stewart in the films of Frank
Capra, minus the shyness -- who is everybody's favorite. Inevitably, he
will become Sally's too, in spite of the temporary incursion of her ex
(Brian Kerwin) .The long, roundabout, easygoing flirtation is a delight.
The triangular relationship is handled with delicacy, wit and originality.
Director Martin Ritt's forte was politics and social consciousness in
authentic settings ("The Molly Maguires,"" The Front," "Norma Rae"). Here
he stays with authenticity, and though for a change he's working in a
romantic comedy context, he still gets in some of his social licks through
Garner, a nonconformist live -and-let-liver, but also an espouser of
conservationist causes. Reviewers ironized about all this alleged
"old-fashioned" sentimentality, but the public --mostly adults fed up
with dumb teenage fare -- rightly liked a lot this warm and charming
Copyright © Edwin Jahiel
Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel