Watch Slums of Beverly Hills
- 1 hr 31 min
Set in the 1970s in Beverly Hills, "Slums of Beverly Hills" is a coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed by Tamara Jenkins. The protagonist, Vivian Abramowitz, played by Natasha Lyonne, is a teenage girl who is coming of age and grappling with the reality of her family's financial struggles. Vivian and her father, Murray, played by Alan Arkin, live a nomadic life, constantly moving from one cheap apartment to another in order to stay within Beverly Hills public school district so that Vivian can attend school.
As a result of their constant moving, the family is poor and does not have a lot of money to pay for basic necessities such as food, clothing, and rent. Add to this, the fact that her father is a failed businessman and alcoholic, and the family's struggles are unending. Vivian also has two younger brothers, Rickey and Ben, who have issues of their own.
Despite their financial struggles, Vivian's father is determined to keep up appearances and maintain their dignity. He has a particular fondness for the upscale areas of Beverly Hills and takes great pride in being able get by on little resources. Murray's determination is evident in the way he scrounges and scrapes to pay for their meager lifestyle. He even stores their furniture in his old van and drives around Beverly Hills in it to avoid paying rent.
Vivian's life takes a turn when she becomes friends with a group of new neighbors, who she initially did not like, but who become vital to her life. These neighbors include Eliot, the drug-addicted son of a wealthy and eccentric family, and Rita, an emotionally disturbed young woman who is the sister of the family's patriarch, Mickey.
The film effortlessly captures the essence of the times, and the transformation of the characters in the film is organic and natural. "Slums of Beverly Hills" is a story about family, growing up, and coming to terms with oneself. It is an emotional journey that also has its moments of humor, with plenty of sweet and funny moments that make it an enjoyable watch.
The film takes a deeper, nuanced look at the issue of financial struggles faced to live in Beverly Hills, a theme that is still pertinent to this day. It portrays the struggles, both physical and mental, that people go through when they are unable to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families.
Natasha Lyonne's portrayal of Vivian is one of the standouts of the film. Her performance captures the confusion and fears of adolescence with precision, and her portrayal of Vivian's emotional struggles is incredibly insightful.
Alan Arkin's performance as Vivian's father is also noteworthy. He brings a sense of authenticity to the role, adding to the believability of the film's story. His portrayal of Murray is that of a father who is troubled, but still loves his children, a difficult feat to pull off.
Another standout in the film is Bryna Weiss, who plays Rita, the troubled young woman who becomes a friend of Vivian's. Her performance is raw and emotional, and she does an incredible job of capturing the vulnerability of her character.
All in all, "Slums of Beverly Hills" is an enjoyable watch that manages to be both funny and touching. Its portrayal of family and financial struggles is timeless, and its performances are top-notch. This is a film that is not to be missed.
Slums of Beverly Hills is a 1998 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 31 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7 and a MetaScore of 69.