Me, Natalie

1969, Movie, M, 110 mins

Review

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Duke is a wonder in this somewhat bland, episodic tale of a young girl's adventures in New York City's Greenwich Village. After suffering numerous disappointments in her adolescent life, Duke goes to college and becomes involved with political activists. Her parents bribe an optometry student to date their daughter, hoping she will come to her senses, but Duke discovers what's going on and runs off to the Village, as so many others before her, "to find herself." She gets a job as a cocktail waitress in a place called The Topless-Bottomless Club and meets a young artist, played by Farentino. She rides from her apartment to his studio in the building dumbwaiter, and eventually they become lovers. Invited to an old school pal's wedding, Duke is delighted to learn that the bride had to get married. To top things off, the groom is a drunk. Duke heads back to the Village and goes to her lover's apartment where, finding a woman in his bed, she makes the traumatic discovery that Farentino is married. When confronted, he admits the fact but offers to divorce his wife and live with Duke. Rejecting this offer, Duke gives up on the Village, returning once more to her parents' home. Despite some of the cliches about Duke's "free" life (her riding the dumbwaiter, a moosehead on her wall), this is a good character study. Handled by a lesser actress, the results might have seemed more stereotypical, but Duke is convincing. We believe and care about this person. Coe's direction is straightforward but not nearly as well paced as in A THOUSAND CLOWNS, a better directorial effort about another free spirit fighting back. Don't miss Al Pacino playing a minor role in his first screen appearance. leave a comment

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Me, Natalie
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