- 1 hr 48 min
Heartburn is a 1986 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols and starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. The movie is based on Nora Ephron's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. In the story, Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep) is a food writer who falls in love with Mark Forman (Jack Nicholson), a political journalist, and eventually marries him. However, Rachel soon finds out that Mark is unfaithful, and their marriage starts to fall apart. The film's plot follows Rachel as she attempts to navigate the ups and downs of her challenging marriage while raising their two young children.
The movie's opening introduces Rachel as a pregnant woman who is sitting in her kitchen, trying to make herself a snack when she is overcome with nausea. This scene takes place shortly after Rachel has discovered that her husband has been having an affair, and as she vomits into the sink, she reflects back on their relationship and her life up until this point. Throughout the movie, Heartburn moves back and forth in time, showing Rachel and Mark's courtship and marriage, as well as the events that led up to their eventual separation.
Meryl Streep's performance as Rachel is outstanding, and she brings great depth and nuance to the character. Rachel is smart, funny, and endearing, and Streep expertly conveys the myriad of emotions that the character experiences throughout the film. Jack Nicholson's portrayal of Mark is also excellent. Mark is a charming, charismatic man, but he is also deeply flawed and capable of being cruel to those around him. For example, in one scene, he tells Rachel that he has slept with one of her close friends, just to see her reaction.
The film's supporting cast is also fantastic, with Jeff Daniels giving a standout performance as Rachel's friend and confidant, Richard. Richard is a writer who is going through a divorce, and he serves as a sounding board for Rachel as she navigates her own troubled marriage. Actors like Catherine O'Hara and Maureen Stapleton also provide memorable performances in smaller roles.
Heartburn is a thoughtful and poignant examination of marriage and relationships. The movie explores the idea that even when two people love each other deeply, they are still capable of hurting one another, intentionally or unintentionally. It also looks at the impact that infidelity can have on a relationship and the ways in which people attempt to forgive and move on from such violations of trust. The film also highlights the importance of friendship and support as Rachel leans on her friends and family during difficult times.
The movie's visual style is simple and unobtrusive, with director Mike Nichols focusing on close-ups and intimate moments between the characters. The film's score, composed by Carly Simon, is also excellent, with its mix of pop-infused tunes and poignant ballads perfectly complementing the emotional tone of the movie.
One of the film's biggest strengths is its sharp, witty writing. Nora Ephron, who wrote the screenplay for the movie, is known for her sharp and incisive writing style, and she brings that same voice to Heartburn. The film is full of clever observations about relationships, food, and the struggles of daily life. For example, Rachel's job as a food writer allows the film to include some delightful scenes of cooking and eating, and the movie makes cooking seem like a sensuous and nurturing activity.
Overall, Heartburn is a touching and insightful film that explores the joys and pains of marriage and relationships. The movie's standout performances, excellent writing, and thoughtful exploration of its themes make it a must-see for fans of romantic comedies and dramas alike.
Heartburn is a 1986 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.1 and a MetaScore of 49.