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With: Sam Shepard, Kim Basinger, Harry Dean Stanton, Randy Quaid
Written by: Sam Shepard, based on his play
Directed by: Robert Altman
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 106
Date: 12/06/1985

Fool for Love (1985)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Nuclear Family

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Robert Altman passed most of the 1980s adapting plays to the screen, and didn't exactly make waves with his efforts. Made for Cannon Films and based on a work by Sam Shepard, Fool for Love isn't one of his best from this period, but it's far from the worst. A run-down Kim Basinger stars as May, who lives in a dusty roadside motel. Cowboy Eddie (Shepard) shows up with rifles, horses, and a bottle of booze. He has some kind of longstanding relationship with May, and he has come to make trouble. May is trying to hide from him. In a marvel of bad timing, she has a date that night, with Martin (Randy Quaid), who must contend with the charming, volatile Eddie. Meanwhile, an old man (Harry Dean Stanton) lingers in the edges of the story, sometimes commenting on what's going on; he also has a mysterious relationship with the characters. It's a little on the cool side, but Altman's loose, observant direction allows for some depth of character, as well as an off-kilter tension, achieved through his brilliant use of framing and desert-flower colors. This movie proves that, even with tough, unyielding material, he was a master. Kino Lorber released it on Blu-ray in 2021. Bonuses include a featurette, and trailers.

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