Romance & Cigarettes
Director: John Turturro
Writer: John Turturro
Cast: James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Bobby Cannavale, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Aida Turturro, Christopher Walken, Barbara Sukowa, Elaine Stritch, Eddie Izzard, Amy Sedaris
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 25.10.2016
Nick (James Gandolfini) and Kitty (Susan Sarandon) have been married many years and have managed to build a very middle-class existence. When Kitty finds out that Nick has been having an affair, she’s outraged. Her three daughters Baby (Mandy Moore), Constance (Mary-Louise Parker) and Rosebud (Aida Turturro) are firmly on Kitty’s side, but also have their own issues to deal with. And Nick will have to figure out whether he wants to fight for his marriage or start a new life with the other woman, Tula (Kate Winslet).
Romance & Cigarettes is a very idiosyncratic film. A musical in that setting and with those costumes and an off-beat sense of humor, it’s funny and manages to entertain, but it’s also unfortunately steeped in sexism.
Up until the last minute I actually wasn’t sure whether I’ve seen the film before or not. Ultimately I don’t think so, but it’s always weird when that happens and it probably added to the weirdness that comes with the film anyway. It was definitely a slightly displaced atmosphere that I did enjoy.
I also very much enjoyed the stellar cast who gave their respective performances their all, which definitely paid off. Special shout-out has to go to Kate Winslet (cast against type) and Mary Louise Parker and their costumes, because hot damn. But every single on of them was wonderfully chosen and it was simply great to watch them.
Unfortunately my enjoyment of the film was severely reduced by the sexism that permeates the entire film. Kitty directing her anger toward Tula instead of Nick was only the beginning. Then there was Steve Buscemi’s Angelo, Nick’s co-worker, who spouted sexist nonsense the entire film through and unfortunately I was never sure whether he was supposed to be a parody or whether they were series – and parody indistinguishable from actual serious opinion is not parody. And then the ending [SPOILERS] where Nick’s affair is forgiven and forgotten because he is a poor, sick man and OF COURSE, Kitty has to take care of him, while Tula is unceremoniously kicked to the curb as soon as it suits Nick because who cares about that slut. [/SPOILERS] It was a catastrophe.
Even with my misgivings about those things, though, and although the fact that the entire thing is a musical gets a bit lost, the film did have its enjoyable bits. I don’t regret seeing it, but I doubt that I will watch it again sometime soon.