Beyond Therapy (1987)

Julie Hagerty, Jeff Goldblum, Glenda Jackson, Tom Conti,
This is an insane and fast-paced romantic comedy about a bizarre dinner date among Bruce (Goldblum) and Prudence (Hagerty), and their lunatic therapists, and Bruce's jealous, gun-wielding homosexual lover Stuart, and Stuart's...
  • 4.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Christopher Durang, Writer:
  • Robert Altman, Director:
  • Steven Haft, Producer:
/ 10

2/5 / 10

There's no special logic at work. The performances are good, but the film has been assembled without an overriding sense of humor and style.

/ 10

He needs more characters to play with than Durang's analyst's couches and restaurant trysts can provide, and simply hasn't the body count to fill in the vacant frames.

1/4 / 10

It's a movie in which every scene must have seemed like a lot of fun at the time, but, when they're edited together, there's no pattern to the movie, nothing to build toward, no reason for us to care. It's all behavior.

10 / 10

Outrageous--And Outrageously Under Appreciated

Christopher Durang's off-Broadway play BEYOND THERAPY was a triumph, and Durang himself worked with director Robert Altman to bring it to the screen. The result is a truly remarkable film--beautifully played by a first-rate cast, quick paced, provocative, romantic, and very, very funny--that is frequently attacked for not being a line-for-line translation of the stage original.

Unlike some Altman films, BEYOND THERAPY actually offers storyline. When Prudence and Bruce (Julie Hagerty and Jeff Goldblum) meet for a blind date the result is disastrous--not surprising, when Bruce casually notes that he is bisexual and living with lover Bob (Christopher Guest.) Prudence and Bruce rush back to their therapists (Tom Conti and Glenda Jackson, respectively) for advice... but their therapists are nuttier than they are, and soon they, Bob, Bob's mother Zizi (Genevieve Page), and the entire waitstaff of a French restaurant are dragged into the fray.

Durang's script adaptation and Altman's wall-of-sound take on it is wickedly funny, and so many memorable lines ("My mother is NOT a transvestite!") bounce through the film that the effect is absolutely dizzying; the sound design is also memorable for the constant car crashes and china shattering that occurs in the background, a metaphor for collision of characters happening before our eyes. The entire cast is absolutely first rate (Hagerty, Goldblum, and Guest have never been better), and Altman guides them with a very sure hand.

Altman's vision always divides viewers: you either like his films or you do not. Although BEYOND THERAPY offers a relatively small cast in a cohesive story, it is actually one of Altman's most visually and aurally kaleidoscopic films, and it is unlikely to convert those who find his style confusing and frustrating. But that said, this is a must-have film for any Altman fan, a truly enjoyable romantic comedy with a razor sharp script and a joyous style. Strongly, strongly recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer