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Review: Phyllis and Harold

An instant classic
By GERALD PEARY  |  July 20, 2010
3.5 3.5 Stars

 

What steamy secrets lurk behind the curtains of a family home in middle-class Jewish suburbia?

This documentary genre has produced two recent instant classics of real-life melodrama and malfunction in Doug Block's 51 Birch Street and Andrew Jarecki's Capturing the Friedmans. Now we can add a third brilliant film to the list, ex-Bostonian Cindy Kleine's penetrating look at her parents' 59-year rubble of a marriage, with her father a controlling, clueless, complacent dentist and her narcissist mother a stewing Madame Bovary of Jewish Long Island pining for her sensitive long-lost lover.

Kleine deals with the question of documentary objectivity by intervening in her movie on her mother's side, working to bring that old lover back for another adulterous tryst while Harold remains clueless. Very funny, and surprisingly touching, Phyllis and Harold finds romance and poetry out there in Long Island — accomplishments indeed.

  Topics: Reviews , Entertainment, Movies, Long Island,  More more >
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