Love, Gilda

I vividly remember watching Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s. The rubber-limbed Detroit native was the most gifted physical performer. She also created some of the most memorable characters, from news commentator Emily Litella, a discombobulated version of her beloved nanny, to slovenly rock singer Candy Slice, her unhinged take on Patti Smith. During her relatively brief lifetime, Radner kept journals in which she recorded her thoughts, which leaned more towards the sober than the goofy. Debut director Lisa D'Apolito uses passages from those journals in combination with home movies, audiotapes, and material from Radner's 1989 memoir, It's Always Something, to shape her affectionate portrait of the comedian. For most of the film, D'Apolito focuses on Radner's career. The documentary takes a darker turn as her movie career fails to take flight, she experiences a miscarriage, and then she finds out she has ovarian cancer. Radner made the most of the time she had left, but you can feel the walls closing in. The result is an unavoidably slight, if touching portrait of a talented woman who deserved more time to find a creatively fulfilling second act. by Kathy Fennessy
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Credits
Director
Lisa D'Apolito
Cast
Chevy Chase, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader