‘Love, Gilda’ Review: Documentary Is a Sweet and Funny Look at the Life of Gilda Radner
Gilda Radner was a comedian of enormous talent having four Emmy nominations and one win. Love, Gilda is told mostly by Radner herself, as newly discovered audio tapes have been found. Through the use of those audio tapes, numerous home movies, pictures and of course her performances on TV and movies, the film tells the story of a young woman who hit the stage and screen just at the right time to become one of it’s most recognizable stars.
Gilda was born in Detroit, Michigan. She was a surprise/miracle baby whose father was fifty-three when she was born. Her father owned a hotel/apartment building where Gilda and her family would live part-time in Detroit and in the winter, in Florida. Gilda was a happy child and would put on shows (starting at a very early age) for her family and her biggest fan, her dad. There are quite a few home movies where Gilda is doing something funny for the camera.
Gilda discovered in high school the stage, and she continued to major in it in college. Her father died of brain cancer when she was twelve, something that affected her for the rest of her life. Gilda quit college when she married a Canadian and moved to Toronto. That move would have a significant impact on her life, as she was picked for the Toronto production of ‘Godspell.’ This would lead her to join the famous comedy troupe, Second City. Later she was asked by John Belushi to joint the National Lampoon Radio Show, which would mean her to move to New York, thereby setting up her being a founding cast member on Saturday Night Live. The movie shows us some of her most famous creations, including Roseannadanna, Baba Wawa, Emily Litella. The cast was so busy they didn’t realize how big a hit the show was until they did a live show in New Orleans and were mobbed. Gilda sometimes had a hard time with the fame, and we see through a series of notes that she wrote to herself, her constantly trying to deal with it.
Gilda was the type of person that just lit up a room, and the film does a beautiful job through those home movies, just how much fun she was. The film shows Gilda’s faults also. She dealt with an eating disorder, having developed it early on as a result of being an overweight child (a doctor put her on diet pills at age ten). She dated a bunch of men (she dated all the male members of the SNL cast), never quite finding the right one until she made a movie with Gene Wider and he became to love of her life. Unfortunately, shortly after having a miscarriage (she and Wilder were determined to have a kid), she was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer, cancer that would end her life at forty-three. Before she died, she completed her autobiography that came out two weeks after she died.
By using the audio of Gilda telling her life story, we get an up close and personal story of her life. The film does an interesting way to move the story along. Gilda wrote notes to herself and kept pieces of odd bits of paper that she found funny, like a fan note on a urology test results. The notes are read by fellow cast members of SNL Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, and comedians Bill Hader, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler, Martin Short, and Maya Rudolph.
Love, Gilda is a sweet, funny film that will make you laugh and occasionally shed a few tears celebrating a life that was filled with amazing times, Gilda Radner was an immense talent that could make anyone smile. Watch this film and learn about an amazing woman.
My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from best to worst:
1) I Would Pay to See it Again
2) Full Price
3) Bargain Matinee
5) You Would Have to Pay Me to See It Again