Rakesh's movie talk
Up Close & Personal (1996)

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Directed by Jon Avnet
Written by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne (suggested by a book by Alanna Nash)
Starring Robert Redford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stockard Channing & Joe Mantegna


I am not a fan of romance flicks. Plain and simple. For a long time I have been avoiding this movie, mainly because I was put off by the trailer which emphasised terribly on the romantic aspect.

Time changed. No, it is not that I have since begun to appreciate romance films, but it is my fascination with Robert Redford's performance. He will remain one of the last classic performers (alongside his peers) who can do so much with so little. A quick flick of the eyelid, a movement with lips and probably a jerk of the head and he will convey thousands of emotions. I am now a confirmed fan and in the course of collecting his films, I picked up this movie.

Now, it is also true that I love Michelle Pfeifer (her Catwoman, to me, will forever be the best she had ever done on screen), so I thought why the hell not. Let just overlook the romance part and see what else the movie got to offer.

And I was pleasantly surprised. The movie brings you behind the sceens of TV journalism, wading through the maze, though not in detail, but enough to intrique us. Redford plays, Warren Justice, a seasoned veteran journalist who is the news director, and who recruits Pfeifer’s green Sally (later Tally) Atwater, who had submitted a fake resume of her doing some reporting.

As accused by many critics, this is indeed a sort of a remake of A Star Is Born, where the hero guides and shapes the heroine, till she becomes a star. So far, so good. Performance wise, both do well. So did the supporting cast, and one gal caught my attention - Stockard Channing. Gosh, she is so good. I wonder what else she has done. I saw her in Twilight, where she plays a cop. She can really steal the show. And she is gorgeous too. Even heavy superstar like Pfeifer can just disappear when Channing is on screen. Bless her. I would love to see more of her work.

There are some scenes that do not make sense. Okay, for my type of viewers, all those romantic scenes do not make sense. But that is being mean. They are actually not bad, but too corn syruppy for me. And the prison riot scene seemed to be tacked in in no purpose than to show Justice's resourcefulness and Tally's talent. If the film had ended with this scene, it would have made sense. But no, it goes on and they are not quite effective. Sure, something bad happens and will leave you with a lump in your throat, but still...