Mini-review: Between the Lines

Between the Lines (1977) ★★★1/2
Director: Joan Micklin Silver

I came across this movie on the Criterion Channel and was drawn in by the ensemble cast, which includes a very young Jeff Goldblum, John Heard, and Bruno Kirby. I also had fond memories of Joan Micklin Silver’s Chilly of Scenes of Winter, which I saw a couple of years ago at BAM. So, I decided to give it a try and I’m so glad I did — it was like a time capsule of the mid 1970s and also of a certain period in journalism, when small alternative weekly newspapers were still a training ground for ambitious young reporters and writers.

Between the Lines follows the scrappy staff of a Boston alternative weekly as they chase assignments, jump in and out of each other’s beds, and adjust to a new management structure after their newspaper is bought out by a corporation. Everyone is young, with their lives still in flux. It’s a movie about transition: career transition, relationship transition, and ultimately the transition that the culture is undergoing…you can feel the 1980s on the horizon, and you just know some of these characters are going to be yuppies in no time. I was especially amused to see Bruno Kirby as a cub reporter, because I know him best from When Harry Met Sally, where he plays an established journalist who writes for New York Magazine. It’s almost as if he’s the same character, and we’re seeing him at the beginning of his career. Now that I think about it, this would be a great double feature with When Harry Met Sally, because they are both so much about negotiating ambition and romance.

Chilly Scenes of Winter


Last weekend it was Mother’s Day, which meant that my husband made me breakfast and then I got to do whatever I wanted all day while he watched the kids. I took a yoga class, read for a few hours, and then, in late afternoon, I went to see Chilly Scenes of Winter at BAM. The screening was part of a film series, “A Different Picture: Women Filmmakers in the New Hollywood Era 1967-1980.”

I knew nothing about this movie except that it was based on an Ann Beattie novel that I’m pretty sure I read when I was a teenager, because there were a bunch of her novels in our home library. (I guess my mom went through an Ann Beattie phase at some point—isn’t it funny how, when you’re a kid reader, you end up going on the same reading binges as your parents?) Continue reading “Chilly Scenes of Winter”