Synopsis by Lucia Bozzola
Scripted by James L. Brooks from Dan Wakefield's novel, Alan J. Pakula's romantic comedy follows the tribulations of a freshly divorced man as he looks for love with a wary single woman. Phil Potter (Burt Reynolds sans mustache) can't quite believe it when his aspiring songbird wife Jessica (Candice Bergen) kicks him out to realize her career dreams, but the added revelation of her adultery speeds him out the door by choice. Relocating to Boston, Phil starts to settle in with the help of his psychiatrist brother Mickey (Charles Durning), joining a divorced men's therapy group. Phil really begins to feel better when Mickey and his wife Marva (Frances Sternhagen) set him up with her friend Marilyn (Jill Clayburgh), a preschool teacher who has had her share of grief from newly single men. Phil wins her over and even convinces her to move in, but an unexpected visit from a regretful, saucily clad Jessica, and an anxiety attack over buying a couch, threaten to end Phil's new life with Marilyn before it has a chance to start. Starting Over offers a ruefully comic look at how the decade's rising divorce rate did not mean fun and games for all the new bachelors; Brooks' movie debut after a sparkling career in 1970s TV with The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Taxi, it was also proof that top '70s star Reynolds could be more than just a good 'ol boy. Still, while the three leads were all praised for their work, only Clayburgh and Bergen received Oscar nominations. Starting Over was a moderate hit, and its humorous yet down-to-earth view of single life and its discontents reassured unattached thirtysomethings that, even though it may not be easy, everything could still turn out fine in modern romance.
divorce, ex-wife, group-therapy, loneliness, love, love-triangle, self-discovery, therapist, extramarital-affair, romance