A New Leaf

1971

Comedy / Romance

6
IMDb Rating 7.4

Synopsis


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1.96G
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23.976 (23976/1000) FPS /
102 min
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English
23.976 (23976/1000) FPS /
102 min
P/S 0 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Whythorne 10

Every now and then you stumble across a film that has been forgotten, or just ignored, and for the life of you, you can&#39;t figure out why. &quot;A New Leaf&quot; is such a film. Seeing this wonderful comedy for the first time was the movie-watching equivalent of discovering buried treasure.<br/><br/>One of the marks of an excellent comedy is one that you can watch a number of times and still laugh involuntarily even though you know what is coming. The performances of Matthau and May, as well as the supporting cast are that priceless.<br/><br/>So many funny and memorable scenes, but a couple of my favorites are: the meeting between Henry Graham (Matthau) and his accountant Beckett (Redfield) as Beckett tries to contain his frustration and explain to Matthau that his money is gone (&quot;perfect&quot;); and the scene where Graham crawls to his rich uncle (James Coco) to ask to borrow money while the uncle is favoring an electric pepper mill during his lavish meal (the expressions on Matthau&#39;s face are exquisite).<br/><br/>A delightful, black romantic comedy that somehow manages to be very light, and as a bonus even subtly tosses out some profound truths.

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Reviewed by wisaacs 10

This film stands up as one of the most sophisticated and heartfelt comedies ever put to celluloid. Watch it alongside &quot;Hobson&#39;s Choice&quot;, &quot;Hail The Conquering Hero&quot;, &quot;The Apartment&quot;, &quot;Shop Around The Corner&quot;, &quot;Father Goose&quot;, &quot;Trouble In Paradise&quot;, and &quot;Love Streams&quot;. Although not a romance, &quot;The Ladykillers&quot; is a black comedy with a similar tone. See if &quot;A New Leaf&quot; doesn&#39;t hold up to these consensus classics.<br/><br/>Romance always involves the conflict between selfish vanity and naive devotion or love.<br/><br/>Most romantic comedies simply give up the fight at the end, and collapse into gooey, deluded sentimentality (e.g. &quot;French Kiss&quot;, &quot;Roxanne&quot;). Some err in the opposite way, concluding on a bittersweet ambivalent implication that love is always dulled or compromised (e.g. &quot;Nothing In Common&quot;, &quot;Chasing Amy&quot;, &quot;Purple Rose Of Cairo&quot;).<br/><br/>The acid test of a romantic comedy screenplay is its balance, its resolution of this issue. Can the lovers truly satisfy each other, without either one abusing or sacrificing his unique character, his intellect, his humanity?<br/><br/>The more starkly and intelligently these forces are presented and opposed, the more difficult the problem. Imagine, then, the most selfish, vain, sarcastic and sophisticated man imaginable, meeting and marrying (for her money) an utterly naive, pure, awkward, cloistered academic woman; a botanist.<br/><br/>Fans of irony enjoy silly dated romances for the stereotypes, the gratuitous sloppy honeyed sentiment, the emotional denial. &quot;A New Leaf&quot; does not shrink from the harsh side of the world, from the dark human character, and (except for the music) it has not dated an hour since its release.<br/><br/>The score may be slightly dated, mixed too high in places, but the music is sweet uptown Manhattan violin-muzak, reminiscent of &quot;Theme From A Summer Place&quot;, so why quibble?<br/><br/>Henry Graham marries Henrietta Lowell intending to kill her. He is too bad to be true. Yet, his venal motives are only an exaggeration of our own. He doesn&#39;t want to be married; he wants to be free! He doesn&#39;t want to share, he wants everything for himself! He has never needed people to like him. Only now, he is desperate for money.<br/><br/>Henrietta, Henry&#39;s opposite, is foremost a botanist. She is a pure academic, uninitiated in the ways of sophistication, deception, vanity or power, despite her wealth. Her mind is unprejudiced, but intensely isolated, focused. She lives in a rarefied climate. Her dream in life is to discover and catalog a new species of plant, a &quot;new leaf&quot;, which would cause her name to be modestly memorialized in the scientific literature.<br/><br/>These two opposites must combine in everyone. It is the problem of romance, most precisely stated. We love. We trust. Yet, we have infantile desires and vanities. We must struggle in a corrupt world that doesn&#39;t give a damn about our delicate preoccupations, to wrest from it the admiration and pleasure our dark hearts desire. We are Henry, we are Henrietta. Can these characters love each other? Can we accept, integrate ourselves?<br/><br/>&quot;A New Leaf&quot; rollicks with endlessly clever, sarcastic, inventive, trenchant dialog, reels through convoluted and finely wrought complications, revels in every character, each played by a brilliant comedian. Matthau was born to play this archetype of morbid, deranged, malevolent and dissolute urbanity. Elaine May conjures an ineffable, lethal sexiness, her myopic naivete perfectly complementing her gentle intellectual clarity. The film is an immaculate, fierce, luminous, huge-hearted gem.

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Reviewed by Tim Dearing 7

One of those films which has no real highlight but which never the less leaves you feeling that you have just really enjoyed the movie. Matthau plays his roll in a way that no other could, making you feel real contempt for his character until at the last fence, he redeems himself completely. Producing and acting in the major supporting role shows the bungling and accident prone Elaine May on top form also. A real forgotten gem that is certainly worth the view.

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