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Rachel, Rachel

Rachel, Rachel

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Rachel, Rachel is a 1968 American drama film produced and directed by Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

. The screenplay by Stewart Stern
Stewart Stern
Stewart Stern is a two-time Oscar-nominated and Emmy award winning American screenwriter. He is best known for writing the screenplay for the iconic film Rebel Without A Cause , starring James Dean.-Writing:...

 is based on the 1966 novel A Jest of God
A Jest of God
A Jest of God is a novel by Canadian author Margaret Laurence. It was first published in 1966. It won the Governor General's Award for 1966 and was made into the Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward filmRachel, Rachel.-Plot summary:...

by Margaret Laurence
Margaret Laurence
Jean Margaret Laurence, CC was a Canadian novelist and short story writer, one of the major figures in Canadian literature.- Early years :...

.

Plot


Rachel Cameron (Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward is an American actress, television and theatrical producer, and widow of Paul Newman...

) is a shy 35-year-old spinster
Spinster
A spinster, or old maid, is an older, childless woman who has never been married.For a woman to be identified as a spinster, age is critical...

 schoolteacher living with her widowed mother in an apartment above the funeral home
Funeral home
A funeral home, funeral parlor or mortuary, is a business that provides burial and funeral services for the deceased and their families. These services may include aprepared wake and funeral, and the provision of a chapel for the funeral....

 once owned by her father in a small town in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. School is out for summer vacation
Summer vacation
Summer vacation is a vacation in the summertime between school years in which students and instructors are off school typically between 6 and 12 weeks, depending on the country and district.-Students:In some countries, students participate in programs such as organized sports, summer camps, and...

 and Rachel figures it will just be another typical and boring summer for her. (In a way it's implied that she hates the summer as the school provides something of an escape from her demanding and sometimes controlling mother.) Fellow unmarried teacher and best friend Calla Mackie, a closeted
Closeted
Closeted and in the closet are metaphors used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and intersex people who have not disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity and aspects thereof, including sexual identity and sexual behavior.-Background:In late 20th...

 lesbian
Lesbian
Lesbian is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. The word may be used as a noun, to refer to women who identify themselves or who are characterized by others as having the primary attribute of female homosexuality, or as an...

, persuades her to attend a revival meeting
Revival meeting
A revival meeting is a series of Christian religious services held in order to inspire active members of a church body, to raise funds and to gain new converts...

, where one of the preachers encourages Rachel to express her feelings. Calla also is inspired to explore her emotions, but when she reveals her physical attraction to Rachel, she is rebuffed by her friend.

When Rachel's former high school classmate Nick Kazlik comes to town to visit his parents, she succumbs to his charms and has her first sexual experience. Mistaking lust for love, she begins to plan a future with Nick, who rejects her once he realizes she views their relationship as more than a casual and temporary affair.

Believing she is pregnant, Rachel plans to leave town and raise the child. With Calla's assistance, she finds another teaching job in Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

, but before she moves she discovers her expanding girth actually is the result of a benign cyst
Cyst
A cyst is a closed sac, having a distinct membrane and division on the nearby tissue. It may contain air, fluids, or semi-solid material. A collection of pus is called an abscess, not a cyst. Once formed, a cyst could go away on its own or may have to be removed through surgery.- Locations :* Acne...

. After undergoing surgery to have it removed, she decides to relocate as planned and, with her mother in tow, sets out for what she hopes will be a more promising future.

Production


The film marked Paul Newman's directorial debut. It was shot in various Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

 locations, including Bethel
Bethel, Connecticut
Bethel is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States, about sixty miles from New York City. Its population was 18,584 at the 2010 census. The town center is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census-designated place...

, Danbury
Danbury, Connecticut
Danbury is a city in northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It had population at the 2010 census of 80,893. Danbury is the fourth largest city in Fairfield County and is the seventh largest city in Connecticut....

, Georgetown
Georgetown, Connecticut
Georgetown is a village and census-designated place in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It is located at the point where the towns of Wilton, Redding, Ridgefield, and Weston meet....

 and Redding
Redding, Connecticut
Mark Twain, a resident of the town in his old age, contributed the first books for a public library which was eventually named after him.-Government:...

.

Newman and Woodward's daughter Nell Potts portrays Rachel as a child in flashback
Flashback (narrative)
Flashback is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point the story has reached. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened before the story’s primary sequence of events or to fill in crucial backstory...

 scenes.

Cast

  • Joanne Woodward
    Joanne Woodward
    Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward is an American actress, television and theatrical producer, and widow of Paul Newman...

     ..... Rachel Cameron
  • James Olson
    James Olson (actor)
    -Life and career:Olson was born in Evanston, Illinois and graduated from Northwestern University. He performed stage work in and around Chicago before his 1956 film debut in The Sharkfighters...

     ..... Nick Kazlik
  • Estelle Parsons
    Estelle Parsons
    Estelle Margaret Parsons is an American theatre, film and television actress and occasional theatrical director.After studying law, Parsons became a singer before deciding to pursue a career in acting. She worked for the television program Today and made her stage debut in 1961...

     ..... Calla Mackie
  • Kate Harrington ..... May Cameron
  • Donald Moffat
    Donald Moffat
    Donald Moffat is an English-born actor, now a naturalized American citizen.-Early life:Moffat was born in Plymouth, Devon, the only child of Kathleen Mary and Walter George Moffat, who was an insurance agent. His parents ran a boarding house in Totnes...

     ..... Niall Cameron
  • Terry Kiser
    Terry Kiser
    Terry Kiser is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of the dead title-character in the comedy Weekend at Bernie's, and its sequel, Weekend at Bernie's II....

     ..... Preacher
  • Bernard Barrow
    Bernard Barrow
    Bernard E. "Bernie" Barrow was an American actor and collegiate drama professor. He was best known as an actor for his role as "Johnny Ryan", a publican and the patriarch of an Irish-American family on the television soap opera, Ryan's Hope, on which he appeared from 1975 until the show's demise...

     ..... Leighton Siddley
  • Geraldine Fitzgerald
    Geraldine Fitzgerald
    Geraldine Fitzgerald, Lady Lindsay-Hogg was an Irish-American actress and a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame.-Early life:...

     ..... Reverend Wood

Critical reception


Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

observed, "Stewart Stern often gets too close to the novel, adopting where he should adapt. Rachel is shackled with prosy monologues that should have been given visual form. Despite its failings, Rachel, Rachel has several unassailable assets . . . It is in the transcendent strength of Joanne Woodward that the film achieves a classic stature. There is no gesture too minor for her to master. She peers out at the world with the washed-out eyes of a hunted animal. Her walk is a ladylike retreat, a sign of a losing battle with time and diets and fashion. Her drab voice quavers with a brittle strength that can command a student but break before a parent's will. By any reckoning, it is [her] best performance."

Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

called it an "offbeat film" that "moves too slowly" and added, "There is very little dialog - most of which is very good - but this asset makes a liability out of the predominantly visual nature of the development, which in time seems to become redundant, padded and tiring . . . Direction is awkward. Were Woodward not there film could have been a shambles."

TV Guide
TV Guide
TV Guide is a weekly American magazine with listings of TV shows.In addition to TV listings, the publication features television-related news, celebrity interviews, gossip and film reviews and crossword puzzles...

rated the film 3½ out of four stars, calling it "a small, understated, and very sensitive film" and adding, "It could have been a drab, weepy story, but Stern and Newman collaborated to make it an inspiring one that proves one is never too old to change one's life."

Time Out London noted, "While in no way as powerful as Barbara Loden
Barbara Loden
Barbara Loden was an American film and stage actress and film director....

's Wanda
Wanda (film)
Wanda is an independent 1970 drama film that was written and directed by Barbara Loden, who also stars in the title role. It is set in the anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania.-Plot:...

, Newman's film none the less captures the quiet desperation of enforced life in sleepytown America."

Awards and nominations

  • Academy Award for Best Picture
    Academy Award for Best Picture
    The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

     (nominee)
  • Academy Award for Best Actress
    Academy Award for Best Actress
    Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

     (Joanne Woodward, nominee)
  • Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
    Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
    Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

     (Estelle Parsons, nominee)
  • Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (Stewart Stern, nominee)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Director (Paul Newman, winner)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama (Joanne Woodward, winner)
  • BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
    BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
    Best Actress in a Leading Role is a British Academy Film award presented annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to recognise an actress who has delivered an outstanding leading performance in a film.- Winners and nominees :...

     (Joanne Woodward, nominee)
  • New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
    New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
    The New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director is one of the awards given by the New York Film Critics Circle to honour the finest achievements in filmmaking....

     (Paul Newman, winner)
  • New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
    New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
    The New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress is one of the awards given by the New York Film Critics Circle to honor the finest achievements in filmmaking.-1930s:-1940s:-1950s:-1960s:-1970s:-1980s:-1990s:-2000s:-2010s:...

     (Joanne Woodward, winner)
  • Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
    Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
    The Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress is an award given by the Kansas City Film Critics Circle to honor the best achievements in acting.-1960s:-1970s:-1980s:-1990s:-2000s:-2010s:-References:*...

     (Joanne Woodward, winner)
  • Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Paul Newman, nominee)
  • Writers Guild of America Award
    Writers Guild of America Award
    The Writers Guild of America Award for outstanding achievements in film, television, and radio has been presented annually by the Writers Guild of America, East and Writers Guild of America, West since 1949...

    for Best Written America Drama (Stewart Stern, nominee)