Daily Archives: September 10, 2012

The Four Seasons (1981)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: Car goes through ice.

This is an easygoing comedy-drama detailing three middle-aged couples who take vacations together during each season of the year. As the seasons change so does the level of their friendships. The chemistry of the group begins to unravel when Nick (Len Cariou) decides to divorce his wife Anne (Sandy Dennis) and bring along his attractive new young girlfriend Ginny (Bess Armstrong) on their trips. The women still feel a loyalty to Anne while Ginny makes the men more self-conscious about their age and virility.

This is certainly an interesting idea with lots of potential. The film has a good handle on the politics of friendship and how even the best of them can have underlying jealousies and misunderstandings. It also shows the tendency of how friends like to smooth things over by putting on a happy face and never really getting to the bottom of the issue.

It’s also refreshing in our youth obsessed culture to have a film focus solely on middle- aged people and have them actually act the part. The situations and their responses to them as well as the conversations all seem very authentic. There’s also some terrific outdoor photography and a great classical music score by Vivaldi.

Carol Burnett is the real surprise. Usually known for her over- the- top comedic performances she puts together a good low key dramatic one here. Weston though steals the film with his somewhat hammy performance as Danny the dentist and his reactions at seeing his prized new car go through the ice is amusing.

Like with a lot of movies written and directed by Alan Alda the film is too dramatically light. There is not enough conflict and it never reaches any peak. The dialogue needs to be crisper and some of the little ‘spats’ that the couples have particularly the one between Danny (Jack Weston) and Claudia (Rita Moreno) at the end seem forced and unfunny. The final result is rather empty and extraneous.

Be warned the film also features the worst rendition of “Strangers in the Night” that you will ever want to hear.

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: May 22, 1981

Runtime: 1Hour 47Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Alan Alda

Studio: Universal

Available: VHS, DVD