Play It As It Lays (1972) Film Review C-

Plat It As It Lays

Director Frank Perry’s first film without his wife Eleanor.
Book: Joan Didion
Adaptation: Perry with Didion’s husband, John Gregory Dunne
Producers: Perry with Didion’s brother-in-law Dominick Dunne
Tuesday Weld’s Maria is a movie actress who strolls on the grounds of a mental hospital, recalling the traumatic events that led to her breakdown. She is married to an unfaithful, self-engrossed director (Adam Roarke) who neglects her. Following a series of one-night stands, she becomes pregnant. Her husband divorces her, and she has an illegal abortion. Maria’s only friend is B.Z., a homosexual movie producer played by Anthony Perkins. World-weary, he tells Maria that he has discovered the meaning of life is nothing. He invites her to commit suicide with him. However, she decides to live and cradles him as he dies after taking an overdose of sleeping tablets. It’s a very seventies movie, adapted from one of Didion’s weaker novels. Unfortunately, despite a good performance by Weld, the film only comes alive when she is driving endlessly around LA’s spectacular freeways. Perkins is passable in the underwritten role of another doomed homosexual.


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