Peter Bogdanovich – They All Laughed (1981)

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Description: They All Laughed is less a comedy than an extended love letter—there’s a rambling, awkward tone to the film, and in places it’s so unabashedly personal that certain viewers may flinch from the self-exposure. Ritter’s character is openly a Bogdanovich surrogate—he even wears the director’s trademark horn-rimmed glasses, and he helps Stratten escape an overbearing, jealous husband. The romance between Hepburn and Gazzara is rooted in their real-life affair, and the regret felt by Hepburn’s character references her own status as an aging star. And though the humor in the film is squarely in the neo-screwball style of What’s Up Doc—lightning-quick dialogue, pratfalls, double-takes, blink-and-you-missed it innuendo—They All Laughed, with its sudden shifts in tone and lack of conventional narrative, moves that style into the realm of the European art film.This is less a work of fiction than a scrapbook of emotions and moods, a kind of memoir-as-cinema; Annie Hall, only more vulnerable, and without the condescension. They All Laughed is not for everyone—some viewers may grow impatient with the wandering, seemingly directionless story. And the film refuses to deliver the expected rom-com happy ending—the love here is avowedly not meant to be. But for the viewer who likes his or her humor with a spoonful of sadness, this unique, delicate film is a charming experience, every frame of it shot through with nostalgia, as if Bogdanovich tried to preserve the ephemeral, giddy first rush of falling in love by pressing it between two panes of glass, before the second act could arrive, ending all that innocence forever.





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