Breezy (1973) / Romance-Drama
MPAA Rated: R for nudity, sexual content and mature subject matter
Running Time: 102 min.
Cast: William Holden, Kay Lenz, Roger C. Carmel, Marj Dusay, Joan Hotchkis, Jamie Smith-Jackson, Norman Bartold
Director: Clint Eastwood
Screenplay: Jo Heims
Review published January 6, 2004
It's hard to imagine a film as sweet as Breezy would catch the eye of Clint Eastwood as a director, especially in the same year he would shoot one of his more violent westerns, High Plains Drifter. On the whole, it's a light dramatic romance between an elderly conservative Frank (Holden, The Wild Bunch) and the titular liberal young hippie (Lenz, House), and the unlikely romance they soon share. There's not much to the plot save the inner conflict that threatens to consume Frank in learning to fall in love again after a bitter divorce that left him lonely for years, and also the fact that he feels foolish seeing a girl maybe a third of his age.
It's kind of the forgotten movie in Clint Eastwood's filmography, but it reveals much of the man when he refers to it fondly as one of his favorite films he's directed. Underneath the rough exterior beats the heart of a softy, and only a softy could have brought you a movie this syrupy sweet, perhaps too sweet for those who don't typically like romances. For those who have a soft side themselves, it starts off in amateurish fashion, with Kay Lenz a bit raw in her first starring role in a movie. Once Holden enters the scene, the quality of the acting does begin to kick in, and although the affair is difficult to swallow, the players do a commendable job in making you feel that the two could genuinely have feelings for each other, even though Breezy's notions of love seem to come on far too strong, too soon.
Clint isn't flashy, but gets the job done. He wouldn't revisit this territory again in his career until Bridges of Madison County, but he understands the characters and situations enough for you to think he wasn't completely out of his element. Very forgettable by all standards, and it probably will only please the most curious of Eastwood fans, but if you are looking for a pleasant May-December romantic drama, Breezy -- it lives up to its name.
©2004 Vince Leo