Murphy’s Romance (1985)


“My friends have overlooked my shortcomings, seen me through some dark days, and brightened up the rest of them. I’m glad to have them; I’m honored to have them; I’m lucky to have them. ” – Murphy

Number of Times Seen – At least 3 times (Theater in ’85, 22 Jun 2011 and 14 Aug 2019)

Brief Synopsis – A divorcee moves to a small town with her son and is befriended by a local widowed shopkeeper who tries to help her get her life on track.

My Take on it – This is a movie that I recall seeing in the theater with my family when I was 11 and I recall liking it, but never being completely won over by it.

I’ve seen it one or two times since, but still wanted to get a fresh perspective on it.

The story itself is intriguing yet the age gap between the characters seems strange at first glance.

Thankfully, both Sally Field and James Garner are great actors and they have unexpected chemistry together despite the age factor which when one thinks about it, it seems a bit too creepy. (Their characters are meant to be nearly 30 years apart.)

Field was in her rime at this point and Garner was slightly beyond his but when not thinking about the age factor, it’s nice seeing them together since things flow well.

The story is presented in a slow way and the plot takes too much time dancing around the issue instead of trying to confront them head on which hurts things a bit.

The genre of the film isn’t very clear and that seems to be this film’s biggest issue since it fails to classify itself into a specific category and leaves things too open which detracts from the enjoyment of the story itself.

This was the only time in Garner’s career that he got an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and even though it’s not his best work, it’s still a nice and worthy performance by him.

Bottom Line – Interesting story that works due to the unexpected chemistry between the two leads despite their age difference. Field is in her prime here and Garner is just slightly past his, but it’s still easy to watch them together because it flows better.  The story is a bit slow and they dance around the issues a bit too much for their own good.  This film’s biggest problem is that it isn’t quite sure how to classify the genre it wants to be in and that causes enough issues along the way that unfortunately takes away from the enjoyment of things.  Garner received the only Oscar nomination as Best Actor of his career for this performance which is quite good even if it isn’t his overall best.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Sally Field once said on the A&E television show Biography: James Garner: Hollywood Maverick (2000) that her kissing scene with Garner in this picture was the best on-screen kiss she had ever had. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)

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