DVD Review: ‘Sweet Lorraine’

Review By Bradley Smith

Sweet Lorraine takes a behind the scenes, hopefully satirical look at small town politics through the eyes of a New Jersey housewife. Lorraine Beebie (Academy Award winner Tatum O’Neal) is from New York, but has made a new life for herself in a small New Jersey suburb; she has married a Methodist minister and has aspirations for getting him into the mayor’s office. But, she hasn’t completely let go of her sorted past in New York, involving a lounge night life, boxing and drag queens. Her past threatens to derail her new perfect life as she seeks help from an old friend who knows all about her secrets as well as others.

In theory, this may seem like an interesting movie; a dark comedy tackling a variety of social issues including religious, political, and gender issues. One of Lorraine’s many secrets is her love of boxing. She frequents a lounge where she boxes either with a punching bag or other people (including men). When commenting on her inability to be a real boxer due to being a woman, her friend tells her “a real boxer has nothing to do with gender, and everything to do with heart.” This is a good message that could apply to pretty much anything.

But the majority of the movie seems to lack heart and is not so much funny or interesting as it is monotonous and sometimes perplexing. For example: Lorraine wants her husband to get into office, but she also has a secret relationship with his running mate and a past relationship with their competitor, the current mayor, who still moonlights as a drag queen; information that Lorraine knows about but refuses to let a mutual friend use when she asks him to help on their campaign. Where she stands with each of these characters changes throughout the film for reasons that aren’t always clear.

Add in some random non-sequiturs, subpar sound editing/sound effects, and a lack of emotion from a lot of the characters and/or cast, and the whole movie feels like a 90 minute exercise in futility. Given the quality of the talent involved; including Steven Bauer, Peter Greene, Scott William Winters, and Julianne Michelle; some may consider it a guilty pleasure or at least mildly entertaining, but others may want to move along.

  1. January 24, 2020
    • January 25, 2020

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