The Heartbreak Kid

The Heartbreak Kid

A FILM BY: Elaine May
WRITTEN BY: Neil Simon, Bruce Jay Friedman (story)
STARRING: Charles Grodin, Jeannie Berlin, Eddie Albert, Cybill Shepherd

Presented by The Chicago Film Society

Introduced by Joe Swanberg

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Elaine May's Hollywood directing career may have been unjustly cut short by the financial failure of 1987's ISHTAR, but the four narrative features she currently has to her name are all essential. THE HEARTBREAK KID may be her only film to feature a screenplay by somebody else but the seething, brutally pointed line-readings from which the film derives most of its comic energy are all May. Charles Grodin plays Lenny Cantrow, a Jewish newlywed on his honeymoon in Miami Beach with wife Lila (May's daughter Jeannie Berlin) who sets his sights on Midwestern Gentile coed Kelly (Cybill Shepherd), ignoring the inconveniences of Kelly's ever-present father (an apoplectic Eddie Albert) and Lenny's own very recent marriage. Given May's astonishing gift for comedic timing, it's no surprise that each of THE HEARTBREAK KID's four principals gives an astonishing and hilarious performance, nor that May is triumphantly successful in making a masterpiece unlike anything seen in the American cinema before or since: a sunny, light anti-romantic comedy that manages to be one of the bleakest films of the 1970s.

35mm print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1972
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 106 mins
Format: 35mm