Smile (1975)

PG   |    |  Comedy


Smile (1975) Poster

It's time again for California's "Young American Miss" beauty pageant, the biggest event of the year for Big Bob Freelander and Brenda DiCarlo, who give their all to put on a successful ... See full summary »


7/10
1,975

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  • Bruce Dern and Michael Ritchie in Smile (1975)
  • Bert Jones in Smile (1975)
  • Maria O'Brien in Smile (1975)
  • Michael Kidd in Smile (1975)
  • Smile (1975)
  • Bruce Dern in Smile (1975)

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9 February 2005 | Suburbanite
10
| One of the funniest films I've ever seen
I recently saw this as part of the London National Film Theatre's retrospective of 1970s American film. I had no knowledge of it beforehand, but what a gem this is.

It's not just a comment on beauty pageants, it also takes an incisive look at 70s American home life in everyday small towns, while examining the need to belong and fit in.

Overall though, it's very very funny, displaying a humour that is never over-the-top or played for easy laughs. This is helped by good, fluid, natural-sounding dialogue from writer Jerry Belson, and solid acting from everyone, especially Bruce Dern, Michael Kidd and Annette O'Toole.

Other things I liked included the way that the girls are often shown as the dignified ones while the (mostly male) pageant organisers and other satellite characters are shown in the opposite light, an interesting take for a film you might think is going to send up the idea of the beauty pageant mercilessly and depict the girls as nothing more than bimbos. Also, the way it neatly side-steps our possible expectation of seeing leering, lascivious men drooling over fresh young girls. There is an element of this, but it's kept to a subtle level in order to make way for better observations and more effective humour.

I highly recommend this, and if you do see it, look out for the scene where Big Bob takes his son Little Bob - for reasons I shan't bother explaining - to see a psychiatrist. I laughed more than I have at anything else for quite some time.

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