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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Spring 2003

Intolerable Cruelty movie review

Love is a Battlefield

Marilyn (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a professional wife who has just caught her cheating husband fair-and-square. Unfortunately Rex (Edward Hermann) goes to the best man in the business, Miles Massey (George Clooney). But Marilyn is not to be beaten and despite finding Miles charming and entertaining she plans her revenge.

Intolerable Cruelty is a brilliantly-written satire dressed as a clever romantic comedy in the tradition of Cary Grant movies. Clooney ably portrays a Cary Grant-style protagonist, suave, attractive, but in this case amoral. His 'leading lady' is Catherine Zeta-Jones, who has the movie-star looks for a traditional romantic comedy, plus excellent comedic timing.

Movie poster, Intolerable Cruelty; Festivale film review

Movie poster, Intolerable Cruelty
A romantic comedy with bite

Together the two leads fence verbally as we discover what happens when two immoral, greedy people fall in love.

This film benefits from the advantages of a single unifying vision of writer/director, in this case the Coen brothers team. They make every line count and every scene has purpose in this fast-paced frolic. From the beginning scenes of Geoffrey Rush playing a cuckolded Australian soap opera producer to the end the film races along but when it is over there is something to think about.

Intolerable Cruelty takes a good look at the men and women who make money out of matrimony. The wealthy to whom looking for love means "putting their portfolio into play", and the divorce lawyers who cash in.

Excellent, entertaining, and highly recommended.

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by Ali Kayn
Due for Australian release 23 October 2003
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

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Just the facts:

Title: Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
Written by: Robert Ramsey (story) & Matthew Stone (story) and John Romano (story); Robert Ramsey (screenplay) & Matthew Stone (screenplay) and Ethan Coen (screenplay) & Joel Coen (screenplay)
Directed by: Joel Coen Ethan Coen (uncredited)
running time:

The Players: Catherine Zeta-Jones; George Clooney; Geoffrey Rush; Cedric the Entertainer; Edward Hermann; Billy Bob Thornton; Julia Duffy

Official website:
IMDb entry

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