Cactus Flower (1969)
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Cactus Flower was based on a hit play and it shows. The dialog is cracking and had me laughing out loud consistently, something I'll admit I don't often do. Walter Matthau's dentist's problem is that he's told his 21-year-old girlfriend, played by Goldie Hawn, that he's married so he could avoid commitment. When things become more serious, he can only marry her by pretending to divorce his wife, which she insists on meeting, and so he ropes his matronly nurse (Ingmar Bergman), loyal to a fault, into his web of lies. And then there's the writer next door, Rick Lenz looking like a young James Stewart so much it's surprising he didn't have more of a screen career, who might just be a spoiler. It's classic farce, laced with barb-wire wit, and while it won Hawn her only Oscar, it's Bergman who is our everything. She's not known for comedy, but shows she can do it very well, and though her punch lines are perfectly pitched, she also does what she's always done best: Make you feel for her. She's funny AND touching. The men in this story may be plot engines, but it's the ladies who are its moral center, and the characters that stay with you. A complete delight.
Wonderful little gem; Bergman is so fantastic. Story is predictable, yet no less heartwarming and funny for it.
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