“Defending Your Life” to screen at TFAC

Published 3:19 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Jan. 30 film in the Tryon Fine Arts Center Film Series is the Albert Brooks’ classic comedy “Defending Your Life.” The show starts at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. for concessions and socializing.

Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks star in the 1991 romantic comedy which, although it does indeed provide some very good laughs, has a thought-provoking element that is not altogether typical of Albert Brooks’ movies. In the story, Dan (played by Brooks) dies suddenly in an auto accident on his 39th birthday and finds that he has arrived in Judgement City, which critic Roger Ebert describes as a place much like the United States where “the angels look like Rotarians and CEOs” rather than “playing harps, which worked fine for Renaissance painters.” There, Dan has to prove that he is worthy of moving onto the next stage of his afterlife.

The film’s well-chosen cast includes Rip Torn, as Dan’s defense attorney, and Lee Grant on the side of the prosecution.  His judges are  played by Lilian Lehman and George  D. Wallace.

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In an interview in Rolling Stone on the occasion of the film’s 25th anniversary, Albert Brooks described  meeting Meryl Streep, who plays the leading lady, Julia, in the film, at a party where he realized that “the person I wanted for that role was the person that I sat and talked to at that party… she’s the greatest character actress that ever lived.”

In her long and impressive career, Streep has won an astounding 156 awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Barak Obama, and has been nominated for 389. She has appeared in television and on the stage, in addition to her 57 movies and with all that she still managed to raise four children and also remain politically active.  She hails from New Jersey and attended both Vassar College and Yale University and is married to sculptor Don Gummer.

This is the sixth film in Tryon Fine Arts Center’s Leading Ladies series. Please note that, because of another event happening at TFAC on the normal film night, it is being shown on the last Tuesday in January, rather than the first in February. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. for mingling and refreshments from the bar.  For more information about other films in this series and other events at TFAC, visit tryonarts.org.

– article by Frances Flynn