Portnoy's Complaint

Watch Portnoy's Complaint

"Some book. Some movie."
  • R
  • 1972
  • 1 hr 41 min
  • 5.3  (572)

Portnoy's Complaint is a film adaptation of Phillip Roth's novel of the same name, directed by Ernest Lehman and starring Richard Benjamin, Karen Black, and Lee Grant. The movie chronicles the life of Alexander Portnoy, a neurotic Jewish man who is struggling with his sexual desires and a dominating mother. Portnoy is a successful lawyer and a ladies man, but his promiscuous behavior is motivated by the guilt he feels for going against his Jewish upbringing. He seeks help from a psychoanalyst, Dr. Spielvogel, who uses probing questions and association techniques to help Portnoy confront his issues.

The film jumps back and forth between Portnoy's therapy sessions and flashbacks to his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. As an adolescent, he spends his days masturbating and rebelling against his mother's strict rules. As an adult, he has numerous affairs with women of different backgrounds, including Gentiles, which further complicates his sense of identity.

Portnoy's problems are largely due to his mother, played by Lee Grant, who is an overbearing and controlling figure. She exerts her influence over him, even from afar, through letters and phone calls. Her disapproval of his romantic relationships puts a strain on their already volatile relationship.

Portnoy is also grappling with his heritage and the role Judaism has played in his life. He loves his culture but is also struggling to reconcile its teachings with his desires. His frustration with the constraints of his culture and his feelings of guilt about his sexual desires lead him to a breakdown.

Overall, Portnoy's Complaint is a character-driven film that explores complex themes of identity, religion, and sexuality. The film captures the novel's dark humor and critiques societal attitudes towards sex, religion, and ethnicity. It offers a thought-provoking look at a man's journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance.

Portnoy's Complaint is a 1972 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 41 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.3.

Portnoy's Complaint
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 41 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.3  (572)