Roommates is one of my favorite movies. I have no idea why it was largely ignored by critics and the general public as well. The remarkable chemistry between Rocky and his grandson is just incredible. The story never fails to touch me – even after quite a few viewings!
Spoilers herein.Peter Yates is a competent director, very serious about delivering on the theatrical values. He only does well when the script is precise. And what we have here is a lesson in precision.This could only have been written by someone who teaches writing for a living; it relies on so many tricks of the popular pen that like Waller (`Bridges of Madison County’) and Sparks (`Message in a Bottle’) that you feel dirty and guilty afterward for having actually enjoyed that hot dog.Grandpa here is not the main character, instead the center is a big hole left by people who have died: first Dad, then Mom, then Wife. Swirling around that hole are vignettes whose only purpose is to sharpen the focus on its emptiness.The thing that works here is the amazing Julianne Moore, who enters and carries herself in a manner calculated to exit memorably. The previous year she reinvented layered acting with `Vanya’ and then dove into five films in a year. These five are all over the p…
I must put in a word of defense for this excellent movie, which was sadly underrated by both critics and audiences. The true story – of a Polish baker in Pittsburgh who raised his orphaned grandson at the age of 70+ and put him through medical school – sounds like a formula for sentimentality and cliches. However, the movie transcends that to become a moving story of the strength of family, with many wonderful touches of humor. Peter Falk’s portrayal of the irascible, curmudgeonly, and indomitable Rocky Holzcek dominates the movie. We are made to care about all the people portrayed. I don’t understand the criticism about the movie "not having a story" to tie it together. The changing relationship of Rocky and his family as the years go by has plenty of elements of drama. This movie touched me deeply. It’s a real sleeper.
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