Lost in Yonkers

Watch Lost in Yonkers

"This summer there's no better place to find yourself."
  • PG
  • 1993
  • 1 hr 54 min
  • 6.8  (3,646)

Lost in Yonkers is a 1993 coming-of-age comedy-drama film adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Neil Simon. The film is directed by Martha Coolidge and stars Richard Dreyfuss, Mercedes Ruehl, and Irene Worth. Set in the summer of 1942, Lost in Yonkers tells the story of a Brooklyn family and the two teenage boys who are sent to live with their grandmother and aunt in Yonkers, New York, while their father goes on the road to make money to pay off his debts.

The film opens with the boys, Jay and his younger brother, Arty, being left with their grandmother, known as Grandma Kurnitz, and their Aunt Bella in Yonkers, as their father travels to the South to raise money. The atmosphere is immediately tense and uncomfortable, as Jay and Arty are greeted by their eccentric and domineering grandmother, who is known for her harsh and unforgiving personality.

Grandma Kurnitz runs a candy store and is a Holocaust survivor, having lost her husband and two sons in the war. She is tough and unyielding, using her own traumatic experiences to justify her harsh treatment of her children and grandchildren. Arty and Jay are sent to sleep on a daybed in the same room as their Aunt Bella, who is mentally challenged and desperately wants to get married and have children. Bella is played by Mercedes Ruehl, who delivers a nuanced and powerful performance, capturing the complexities of a woman who is simultaneously childlike and independent.

As the boys settle into life in Yonkers, they start to get a better sense of their eccentric family members. Uncle Louie, played by David Strathairn, is a small-time crook who has been running from the law and has come to Yonkers to hide out. In contrast to his grandmother, he is warm and charismatic, showing the boys a different side of life. Also in the mix is Aunt Gert, played by Julie Kavner, who has a chronic breathing problem and a fear of being alone.

Richard Dreyfuss plays the boys' father, Eddie, a man struggling to make a living in a tough world, dealing with the loss of his wife and the responsibility of raising two boys. Dreyfuss delivers a strong performance, managing to convey the complexities of a man who is simultaneously loving and distant. The relationship between Eddie and his mother is particularly fraught, as they clash over the best way to raise the boys.

Throughout the film, the boys start to learn about the different ways people deal with trauma and pain, as they observe their family members coping with their own losses and disappointments. The film doesn't shy away from difficult topics, such as mental illness, child abuse, and the Holocaust, but manages to balance these with moments of warmth and humor.

Lost in Yonkers is a well-written, well-acted film that explores themes of family, trauma, and resilience. Simon's script is sharp and witty, with memorable one-liners and poignant moments of introspection. Martha Coolidge's direction is subtle and sensitive, allowing the characters to develop naturally and giving the audience a chance to understand their motivations and struggles.

In conclusion, Lost in Yonkers is a poignant and powerful film that explores complex family dynamics with wit and heart. Featuring strong performances from a talented cast, the film is a moving exploration of loss, love, and healing. Whether you're a fan of Neil Simon's plays or just looking for a thought-provoking and entertaining film, Lost in Yonkers is definitely worth a watch.

Lost in Yonkers is a 1993 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 54 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.

Lost in Yonkers
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 54 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (3,646)