22 October 1999 | didi-5
Not without interest, but without feeling
I really wanted to like this film - the songs are fabulous, and, together with Follies and Company, it really is one of Sondheim's best musicals. But this is a wasted opportunity. The strongest overlapping trio (Now/Soon/Later) on stage sounds terrific, here it just doesn't work. Other songs - particularly Liaisons and The Miller's Son - are missing. It looks drab and empty. But it does have its good points - Send in the Clowns is quite touching (it doesn't have to be sung - look at what Judi Dench and Elaine Stritch have done with it if you're not convinced) and Elizabeth Taylor is the perfect choice for Desiree. It Would Have Been Wonderful works well and is by far the musical high point. As some kind of record of the show, it is adequate, mildly satisfying, and passes the time. But it certainly isn't great art and fails to engage any hint of interest in the characters.