4 October 2018 | jadepietro
THIS FILM IS RECOMMENDED.
IN BRIEF: A flawed but loving portrait of a iconic comedienne.
JIM'S REVIEW: Love, Gilda is just that: a cinematic love letter to a wonderful comedienne who died too soon. To those of us who fondly remember her comic performances on Saturday Night Live with characters such as nerdy Lisa Loopner, sweet Emily Litella, opinionated Roseanne Rosannadanna, and Miss Barbara Wawa, the film becomes a sweet remembrance of things past. To the younger set, this documentary will serve as an introduction to a great talent.
A Second City alumni before making it big on Saturday Night Live, Gilda's story essentially follows the artist vs. personal demons route. Moviegoers learn about her childhood and battle with eating disorders, numerous romantic relations, depression, and her final battle with ovarian cancer.
Former SNL performers Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler and Melissa McCarthy appear in the movie and poignantly read excerpts from Ms. Radner's journals and her autobiography, It's Always Something, making the film quite moving. Comments by her friends show her effect on those around her.
Director Lisa D'Apolito assembles interviews with friends, family, and colleagues, plus the comedian's own words to piece together her life. Yet, some areas remain unclear and need more focus. The use of grainy out-of-focus archival footage doesn't help matters either. Her marriage to Gene Wilder is glossed over a bit as are her early marriage and health issues. One also would have like to see longer snippets of her comedy routines and her unique blend of physical pratfalls to counteract some of the tragic goings-on. After all, they are the reasons for her fame and success.
Still, that vivacious personality and winning smile shines through. Love, Gilda may be a slightly flawed biography, but it does reflect a star that shone her light upon the world and gave us hope and laughter even when she had none.