Review: Garbo Talks - Sidney Lumet's Star Searcher

David Parkinson 30 November -0001

This eccentric comedy sees a dedicated mummy's-boy go above and beyond the call of duty to unite his mum with her heroine.

Despite Anne Bancroft earning a Golden Globe nomination, this charming New York comedy has been undeservedly neglected. As a Jewish eccentric, whose activism frequently lands her in jail, Bancroft drifts in and out of the action after she is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and son Ron Silver sets about fulfilling her last wish: to meet reclusive screen icon Greta Garbo.

Director Sidney Lumet makes evocative use of the city's changing landscape and mindset, while first-timer Larry Grusin's screenplay bristles with sardonic wit and nostalgic warmth. Howard Da Silva and Hermione Gingold cameo effectively as a world-weary paparazzo and am ageing actress. A subplot involving Silver's love life (with shrewish wife Carrie Fisher and winsome actress Catherine Hicks) is somewhat twee. But ex-husband Steven Hill's monologue about enduring romance is deeply moving, while Bancroft delivers a masterclass in how to act with the camera while breaking the audience's heart.

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