X, Y & Zee (1972)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Marriage Drama  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Craig Butler

Elizabeth Taylor is back in Virginia Woolf territory in X, Y and Zee, and if the results are ultimately not as memorable, Taylor at least gives her fans their money's worth with her all-out, often vulgar but totally committed performance. Edna O'Brien's screenplay -- which the writer claims was mauled in the filming and editing -- has much more than the requisite number of zingers in its excellently bitchy dialogue; at times, it also almost has something to say about the emptiness of contemporary life and the difficulties people have really relating to each other. But almost is far from enough; without going over the line and actually achieving what it's aiming for, Zee's screenplay comes across as much worse than it actually is, reducing many of its finest thoughts to platitudes and clich├ęs. Still, it does give Taylor that salty, spicy dialogue that she flings about with complete abandon, creating a glorious show in the process. It's not great acting, but it's mesmerizing performing, and it makes the move worth watching. Michael Caine and Susannah York try very hard as the other two sides of the triangle, but they can't keep up with Taylor -- or with the incredible early-'70s settings and costumes, which are a treat all in themselves.