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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Enemies a Love Story
Enemies a Love Story
Warner Bros. // R // September 3, 2002
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Kerry Fall | posted November 1, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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Based on Isaac Bashevis Singer's novel, Enemies, A Love Story is the tale of one Herman Broder; a man with no talent for marriage who ends up simultaneously married to three women. Director Paul Mazursky (Bob&Carol&Ted&Alice, An Unmarried Woman) painstakingly creates the world of late 1940s America and the lives of four Holocaust survivors grappling with the emotional fallout from their pasts.

Ron Silver stars as Broder who lives on Coney Island with his overly devoted wife Yadwiga (Margaret Sophie Stein). Broder stays with Yadwiga not out of love, but out a combination of gratitude and guilt—Yadwiga was responsible for saving him from the Nazi's. Broder's true passion is Masha (Lena Olin), another survivor whose unpredictable emotional state shows through her tough veneer. Masha and her mother live in an apartment in the Bronx and Broder's visits are welcomed by both women.

Broder works at keeping his job (and his nosy boss, played by Alan King), his wife, and his mistress in separate mental and emotional compartments, accessing different parts of himself to deal with each part of his life. While attempting to maintain this precarious balancing act, Broder's world becomes more complicated when Yadwiga expresses her desire to have a child, Masha pushes for marriage, and Tamara (Angelica Huston), Broder's first wife whom he had presumed dead, turns up in New York.

These three women long for love and connection, and Broder feels compelled to try to keep all three satisfied. But Broder is a profoundly isolated emotional shell—a lonely man who lacks the control he so desperately seeks. It is the women themselves who turn to their own sources of strength to solve their problems and move their lives forward.

Marzursky has a definite feel for his subject and characters, and the film is solidly written. However, as in his previous films, the director's timing can be slow and there's an old-fashioned quality that sometimes makes the film seem like a movie made in the 60s instead one made in the 1989. The acting, particularly by the three women, is excellent and the end result is a movie that delves deeply into the study of grief and redemption .

VIDEO: The new digital transfer on a single-sided, single-layered disc (SS-SL), offers a clear anamorphic widescreen presentation (1.85:1) that showcases the rich warm tones and meticulously detailed sets of this period film.

AUDIO: Maurice Jarre's well-suited score is beautifully rendered on the remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), with English, Spanish, and French subtitles.

MENUS:The DVD offers an easy-to-use interactive menu and scene access with previews.

PACKAGING:Enemies, A Love Story is a single-disc presented in a snap case.

EXTRAS:Extras are a feature-length audio commentary by Mazursky and cast/director film highlights. Possibly the most interesting aspect of this disc, Paul Mazursky's audio commentary keeps the usual brown nosing to a minimum, instead addressing the movies themes and production details as well as providing retrospective thoughts on the making of the movie.

OVERALL: Enemies, A Love Story is not a heavyweight contender for Holocaust realism ala the recent release The Grey Zone or even the comedy/drama hit Life is Beautiful. It is, however, a tender film about the fragility of each life and the strength of those willing to move beyond mere survival.
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