(Don Shebib, 1981)
This film about love in all its manifestations really is beautifully done, so much so that its flirtations with cuteness and pathos didn't turn me off, they kept me on the edge of my seat. Will they be able to maintain the balance? Will they stay honest? Yes and yes, emphatically - given a real budget for the first time, Shebib simply hires the best actors he can find and gives them all the space they need. What an ensemble this is - every character has a unique rhythm, and their intersections are remarkably unpredictable and entertaining. Pregnant smalltown escapee Annie Potts is adorable without trying, but roomie Margot Kidder is mercurial and complex, a classic wounded brassy broad, and her hard work in the role never upsets the film's casual, shambolic mood. When she climbs the Scarborough Bluffs at the climax it's really an absurdly modest gesture, but in context it plays like Lillian Gish on the ice floes. But the film's best moment is one of the simplest - the releasing of Potts' and Robert Carradine's pet duck is an utterly perfect symbol for life after relationship. Carradine's suspended-adolescent hoser sidekicks are treated with as much affection and respect as the ladies in the mattress factory. And the calculated irresolution of the ending - will she get the abortion? Will they get back together? - is the opposite of a cop-out. This is the movie "Juno" wants to be when it grows up.