They were a different type of star, in terms of interaction with the industry at large, but stars nonetheless — embodiments of what mattered to Americans at various cultural moments.
And Redford, I realize now, was proof positive that beautiful American men could still exist amidst the turmoil of the age.
But I hope you see that that’s the charm: he’s a dick for the first half, and then he falls for you during the second half.
Sure, he’s still a little aloof, but It’s a nice play on Redford’s fledgling image: he plays a reticent yet beautiful young lawyer; Fonda plays his very new wife, who loves to say inappropriate things, drag him to Staten Island for Albanian food, and have a lot of sex.
I love him for his palpable Westernness, his ease with open spaces, the scent of high altitude that seems to waft from him.
There, Redford played on the high school baseball team and, if looks are to be believed, slayed the entire female population.Throughout his career, Redford’s split critics: maybe he could act, but could he act other than himself? David Thomson called him a waste, while Pauline Kael understood that his golden diffidence was part of his allure, what drew us back to watch him over and over again.He never gave himself over fully the way that his co-stars did — not because he wasn’t acting, but because that was the point. Which is part of why his enduring popularity is so surprising — is it his looks that bring us back, again and again?When she realizes he’s kind of a bore, she decides to divorce him, at which point he gets drunk, becomes ridiculous, and proves to her that he can be awesome, too.There’s some weird, regressive rhetoric that runs through the script — Fonda’s mother tells her that a successful marriage is based on “making the husband feel important,” and it’s not a matter for satire.Syndey Pollack directing, Tennesse Williams’ on the source material, a very young Coppola on the screenplay, Natalie Wood as his co-star.and vintage Tennessee Williams, which explains why a weird incestual air imbues the entire production.Or is the semi-masochistic desire to watch him maintain that aloofness?Redford was born in Santa Monica, because of course he was.He’s stunning but bland, which, of course, is part of the point.But the last 10 minutes, the drunken fool minutes, are so delicious; it’s the dessert that makes him a star, as opposed to a handsome model for JC Penney.