Handle with Care

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  • PG
  • 1977
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 6.4  (882)
  • 68

Handle with Care is a 1977 drama-comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme, known for his Academy Award-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. Set in New Mexico, the story follows the lives of a group of eccentric characters who work for a private postal service company called "Handle With Care" and their struggles to find love and purpose in their lives.

The protagonist of the story is a young, handsome, and free-spirited driver named Nicky (Paul Le Mat) who delivers various packages for Handle with Care. Along his journey, he meets a variety of interesting characters that he has developed deep relationships with.

One of the people he meets along the way is a beautiful but lonely woman named Mary (Candy Clark), who runs a small motel that has been bypassed by the interstate's new development. Nicky becomes smitten with Mary and helps her get back on her feet when he sees she is struggling financially.

Another person he encounters is his best friend, Frank (Bruce McGill), who is also a driver for the company. Frank is happily married with two children but is still struggling to find a sense of purpose in his life. He yearns for the wild freedom of his youth and has started taking up smoking cigarettes again as a way to cope with his feelings, something Nicky notices and tries to help him with.

The film features a wide range of interesting and entertaining characters who are all interconnected in their own ways, making for a rich tapestry of their lives. There is Montgomery (Roberts Blossom), a retired postman who is full of wisdom and gives Nicky a job when he needs one. Then there is Nino (Antonio Fargas), a flamboyant and eccentric ex-con who is a part of Nicky's inner circle of friends, as is Hector (David Spielberg), a gruff and humorous truck driver.

One of the most fascinating characters in the film is Marlene (Marcia Rodd), an overweight and unhappy middle-aged woman who finds herself attracted to Nicky but is unable to express her feelings directly. Instead, she tries to seduce him in various subtle ways, something that Nicky initially finds repellant but eventually comes to appreciate.

The film's soundtrack plays a significant role in its success, with a custom score composed by Bruce Langhorne and featuring music by Neil Young, Grateful Dead, and Emmylou Harris. It was also the first film in which director Jonathan Demme used a musical sequence, featuring Emmylou Harris singing "Get Up, John", which helped demonstrate his influence on the genre in his later films.

Handle with Care's central theme is the pursuit of love and self-discovery. It explores how people can lead different lives, but all of them contain their own struggles, feelings, and longing for connections with others. The film is a nostalgic love letter to a bygone era, featuring evocative images of the American Southwest with its small towns, dusty roads, and endless skies.

Overall, Handle with Care is a beautifully crafted, charming, and poignant film that tells a story of hope, love, and redemption. It demonstrates Jonathan Demme's talent for creating empathetic and relatable characters, his sensitivity to music, and his skill in balancing comedy with tragedy. The film has a timeless quality that still resonates with audiences today, and it is a must-see for fans of 70s cinema.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (882)
  • Metascore