Sep 27, 2008

[Movies] Tootsie (1982)

TootsieThere are those movies that make a significant mark on the entertainment world. They're movies that people will always remember and talk about and know something about and yet years can go by without actually having seen some of these titles.

I have a number of movies like that - movies that I know a fair amount about despite not having actually seen them. The movie buff in me rebels at my failure to see all these films in a more timely manner, but then one can only do so much with the free time available to us.

After waiting far too long, I finally got to see this particular film on HBO and managed to take it off my list of films that I need to see.

Dustin HoffmanImage via WikipediaTootsie is an interesting film about an out of work actor, Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) who finally manages to get an acting job but the catch is that he's playing the role of a woman. Thus the story unfolds with him trying to keep this job since in a manner of speaking it's his "big break" but at the same time maintain the illusions of his normal straight life and the women of interest in his social circle.

First off, this isn't a gay movie. Sure, the protagonist is a man dressed as a woman but it's just a twist of absurdity that makes the story unique and not some sort of expression of his feminine side trying to break out. It really is about a terribly serious actor, one who is extremely passionate about his craft and yet because of this high standards remains unrecognized and unemployed. So he takes on this role as a woman, to some extent inadvertently, and then becomes a model for women wanting to be stronger and more independent like the character he portrays on TV.

I liked this movie a lot given it didn't take the comedy aspect too far and didn't treat the whole cross-dressing angle into some stupid running gag or point for ridicule. Instead it remained largely understated, simply a means to an end for Dorsey and ultimately a complication for his own romantic interests balancing off his financial / career needs.

It may not seem like the kind of movie you'd want to make the time to watch especially since it involves Dustin Hoffman in several dresses, but if you give it a chance then you'll see what makes this film so remarkable and memorable over the passage of time.


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