6.8/10
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39 user 38 critic

Judy Berlin (1999)

A lonely, but talented teacher enjoys a flirtation with her married principal, who returns her affections but is hampered by his high-strung wife. He is also hampered by a deadbeat son, who... See full summary »

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4 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sue Berlin
...
...
Judy Berlin
...
Maddie
Aaron Harnick ...
Bette Henritze ...
Dolores Engler
...
...
Marie
...
Bea
...
Carol
...
Mr. V
...
Lisa
...
Tour Guide
...
Eddie Dillon
...
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Storyline

A lonely, but talented teacher enjoys a flirtation with her married principal, who returns her affections but is hampered by his high-strung wife. He is also hampered by a deadbeat son, who supposedly is becoming a filmmaker. The teacher also has a clueless daughter, who is an aspiring actress. Filmmaker and actress manage to get together, while the teacher and principal can steal their own fleeting moments and a quick kiss during an eclipse. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

6 October 1999 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Babylon, USA  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$46,800, 27 February 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$467,313, 6 August 2000
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Judy Berlin was the name of one of Eric Mendelshon's classmates. See more »

Goofs

The film takes place while a solar eclipse is in progress. The sky goes so dark that the streetlights come on. Much of the story continues through this "dark time". A real eclipse has this totality and darkness for about two minutes, tops! The total eclipse in "Judy Berlin" just goes on way too long. See more »

Quotes

Alice Gold: Art, that thing under my nose is getting bigger.
Arthur Gold: That's your mouth.
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Connections

References Baby Boom (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Serenade No. 10 in B-flat
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by The New York Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble
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User Reviews

The Neglected Gem of 2000

This is the neglected gem of last year, and in my estimation the best film of the year.

Think of it as a middle-class Ice Storm, but while the upper-class suburbanites of Ice Storm were too distant and unreal to care about, the middle-class lives depicted in Judy Berlin are very real and both heart-breakingly sad and genuinely funny (without caricature or directorial mocking). I've often heard the phrase laughing through tears, but never experienced it until seeing this film.

The performances are without exception incisive and dead-on. Of particular note: the counterpoint of Aaron Harnick's sad, lost David and the open-faced lifeforce that is Edie Falco's Judy; Barbara Barrie's portrait of a loving schoolteacher -- with an edge; Bob Dishy's sullen and conflicted Arthur, among the most subtle work in this usually comic actor's long career; and Madelyn Kahn in her final film role, touching and hilarious (as always) as a housewife on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Her scene when she encounters her psychiatrist while aimlessly wandering the streets during the eclipse, and manages to offer him words of comfort, is the film's defining moment -- a film of beautifully etched characters behaving in very real yet very surprising ways in moments of conflict filled with shades of gray.

Speaking of which, the film is shot brilliantly in black and white to point up both the beauty and the horror of this suburban landscape.

However did this film languish on a shelf for two years? If film scripts were eligible for Pulitzer Prizes, Eric Mendelsohn's would have surely been a contender.


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