Watch The Heartbreak Kid
- 1 hr 46 min
The Heartbreak Kid, released in 1972, is a romantic comedy directed by Elaine May and stars Charles Grodin, Cybill Shepherd, and Jeannie Berlin. It tells the story of sporting goods salesman Lenny Cantrow, who impulsively marries a woman named Lila after a brief courtship. During their honeymoon in Miami Beach, Lenny realizes that he has made a terrible mistake and falls in love with a young woman named Kelly.
The film opens with Lenny and Lila's wedding in Long Island, where we are introduced to Lenny's overbearing father and his mother, who has a tendency to meddle in his affairs. In contrast, Lila's relatives are a rather eccentric bunch, with her mother being obsessed with death and her uncle being a nudist.
Soon after their wedding, Lenny and Lila head to Miami Beach for their honeymoon. However, things start to unravel when Lenny becomes increasingly annoyed with Lila's quirks and realizes that she is not the woman he thought she was. Furthermore, Lenny meets Kelly, a beautiful and sweet-natured blonde, and is immediately smitten with her.
As Lenny becomes more and more interested in Kelly, he begins to actively pursue her, going so far as to buy her presents and take her on dates. Meanwhile, Lila is completely oblivious to Lenny's true feelings and becomes increasingly infatuated with a handsome ski instructor.
Despite his guilt over his actions, Lenny continues to see Kelly and begins to fall in love with her. He even starts to plan a life with her, including moving to Minnesota and starting a family. However, when Lila suddenly falls ill and needs surgery, Lenny is forced to confront the reality of his situation and make a difficult decision.
Throughout the film, Grodin delivers a standout performance as the fickle and self-centered Lenny, while Shepherd is charming as the object of his affections. Berlin also shines as Lila, adding depth and complexity to what could have been a one-note character.
One of the most striking elements of The Heartbreak Kid is its commentary on relationships and the idea of the "perfect" partner. Lenny initially sees Lila as a flawless woman, idealizing her to the point of blindness. However, as he gets to know her better, he discovers that she has many flaws and quirks that he finds intolerable.
On the other hand, Kelly initially appears to be Lenny's dream girl, possessing all the qualities he desires. However, as he spends more time with her, he begins to see that she, too, is not perfect and has her own set of flaws.
This theme is underscored by the film's portrayal of the contrasting locales of Long Island and Miami Beach. Long Island is depicted as a bland and stifling environment, where conformity and societal expectations reign supreme. In contrast, Miami Beach is portrayed as a place of freedom and experimentation, where people can be themselves without fear of judgment.
Overall, The Heartbreak Kid is a witty and insightful comedy that explores the complexities of love and relationships in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. It is a testament to the talents of its director and cast, and remains a classic of the romantic comedy genre.