Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Enemies, a Love Story



Who would have thought that Paul Mazursky (An Unmarried Woman, Down and Out in Beverly Hills), defender of middle-class mediocrity, could have brought off this sensitive adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer's slyly subversive and emotionally complex novel, an erotic love story and comedy-drama about holocaust survivors living in New York City in 1949-50? Ron Silver plays a man named Herman who works as a ghostwriter for a rabbi (Alan King) and winds up married to three women at once--his original wife Tamara (Anjelica Huston), whom he believed to have perished in a concentration camp; a non-Jew (Margaret Sophie Stein) named Yadwiga, his family's former servant in Poland, who saved his life by hiding him in a hayloft and who lives with him now in Coney Island; and Masha (Lena Olin), a volatile Jewish woman who lives with her mother (Judith Malina) in the Bronx. Part of the fascination of this lovely and sexy movie, scripted by Roger L. Simon and Mazursky, is that one can never be sure where it's going, although it proceeds with disarming and impeccable logic. The period flavor is beautifully caught, and the performances-including an effective cameo by Mazursky himself as Masha's estranged first husband--are full of unexpected depths and surprises. All the actors are impressive, but it's the female leads who really shine. (Water Tower, Old Orchard)

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