A Delicate Balance

Watch A Delicate Balance

"The sister who drank too much. The daughter who divorced too much. They're all there when Tobias and Agnes have their little get-together and tear-apart."
  • PG
  • 1973
  • 2 hr 13 min
  • 6.6  (868)

A Delicate Balance is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by the same name written by Edward Albee. The 1973 movie features big names such as Katharine Hepburn, Paul Scofield, and Lee Remick in the lead roles of Agnes, Tobias, and Julia, respectively. The movie revolves around the dynamic of a seemingly perfect family. Agnes and Tobias are a well-to-do couple with grown-up daughter Julia, who has just come back home after a failed marriage. The couple seems to have it all, a beautiful home, all the material possessions they need, and strong relationships, until their friends Harry and Edna arrive unexpectedly one night, fleeing a "nameless terror" that has taken over their lives.

Agnes agrees, reluctantly, to let the couple stay with them, but the addition soon upsets the balance and stability of their lives. Tensions rise between the guests and hosts as secrets and emotional truths are revealed throughout the course of the film. The tension escalates further when Julia's best friend, also going through a personal crisis, shows up unannounced from out of town and seeks refuge with Agnes and Tobias.

The movie explores themes such as the fragility of human relationships, the concept of duty, individual identities, and the burden of caring for others. The characters' conversations throughout the film are thought-provoking and reveal complex character traits. The film unfolds almost entirely within the confines of the house, creating a sense of claustrophobia and heightening the dramatic tension.

Katharine Hepburn, in particular, brings complexity to her role as Agnes, portraying her as a cold, controlled matriarch with seemingly everything under control. Paul Scofield delivers an equally solid performance as her husband, Tobias, a man who is usually calm and reserved but is challenged when his family's equilibrium is threatened. Lee Remick plays Julia, the self-absorbed daughter who has returned home, vying for her parent's attention after years of neglect.

The supporting cast of Joseph Cotten, Betsy Blair, and Kate Reid also contribute riveting performances as the guests and friends of the family, adding layers to the intricacies of the relationships in the film.

The film is beautifully shot and directed by Tony Richardson, using various camera angles and close-ups to convey the psychological turmoil of the characters. The dark lighting and slow-paced storytelling also intensify the feeling of the characters being trapped within their own lives.

Overall, A Delicate Balance is an intense, thought-provoking adaptation of Edward Albee's play. With its powerful performances and memorable characters, it delves deep into the complexities of human relationships and the struggles of maintaining balance in one's life. The film leaves viewers with a lot to ponder on what constitutes a perfect life and whether it is worth sacrificing one's own happiness for the sake of others.

A Delicate Balance is a 1973 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 13 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6.

A Delicate Balance
Where to Watch A Delicate Balance
A Delicate Balance is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download on demand at . Some platforms allow you to rent A Delicate Balance for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 13 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (868)