Orson Welles said this movie made him cry like a baby. It certainly made me cry like a baby. It may be the best tearjerker of all time, or at least the best tearjerker that isn’t about young love doomed. This one is about old love doomed.
It’s one of the most disturbing movies ever made. Everybody in it is annoying to one degree or another, and yet everybody has their reasons. Every scene of family dysfunction is wrenching, and yet every situation is familiar, painfully familiar.
It’s about the way parents annoy and embarrass children, and the way children hurt and disrespect parents. It’s about problems without solutions, wounds that can’t be healed. When tiny moments of grace intrude, from the kindness of strangers, from an inarticulate expression of love perfectly understood, they pierce the heart like arrows.
I can’t recommend it even for a good cry — you’ll cry but you won’t enjoy it. It elicits tears that burn. But in its own way it’s profound, a masterpiece — the sort of work that makes you want to change your life, and hope it’s not too late.