Modern Romance (1981) MIFF Film Review

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Robert and Mary are a couple, but Robert decides to end it. Not for the first time. The film follows Robert’s week or two following the break up, trying to get through work, get fit, start dating other women and finally trying to woo Mary back.

Albert Brooks wrote and directed this awkward comedy back in 1981 and it must surely have had some influence on Larry David, as the film is filled with those uncomfortable and unpleasant moments that many of us have come to love in Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. The character of Mary could have been further developed, although if there had been the opportunity for her to do things that would provoke Robert’s reactions it may have taken away from the humour.

Brooks talks almost constantly throughout the film, sometimes to others, sometimes on the phone, but mostly to himself. Normally, people talking to themselves in movies drives me nuts, but in this film it is quite endearing. However it is the times when he is silent and everything he feels is shown on his face that are the most hilarious.