TOOTSIE (1982) C widescreen 116m dir: Sydney Pollack
w/Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, Sydney Pollack, George Gaynes, Geena Davis, Doris Belack, Ellen Foley, Peter Gatto, Lynne Thigpen, Ronald L. Schwary, Debra Mooney, Amy Lawrence, Kenny Sinclair, Susan Merson, Michael Ryan, Robert D. Wilson, James Carruthers, Estelle Getty, Christine Ebersole, Bernie Pollack, Sam Stoneburner, Marjorie Lovett, Willy Switkes, Gregory Camillucci, Barbara Spiegel, Tony Craig, Walter Cline, Suzanne von Schaack, Anne Shropshire, Pamela Lincoln, Mary Donnet, Bernie Passeltiner, Mallory Millett, Patti Cohane, Murray Schisgal, Greg Gorman, Anne Prager, John Carpenter, Bob Levine, Richard Whiting, Jim Jansen, Susan Egbert, Kas Self, Tom Mardirosian, Richard Wirth, Gavin Reed, Annie Korzen, Ibbits Warriner, Lois De Banzie, Stephen Prutting, Carole Holland
From Variety's contemporary review of the film: "Tootsie is a lulu. Remarkably funny and entirely convincing, film pulls off the rare accomplishment of being an in-drag comedy [from a story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart] which also emerges with three-dimensional characters.
"Dustin Hoffman portrays a long-struggling New York stage actor whose 'difficult' reputation has relegated him to employment as a waiter and drama coach.
"Brash but appealing actor's solution: audition for a popular soap opera as a woman. Becoming a hit on the show, 'Dorothy Michaels' develops into a media celebrity thanks to her forthright manner and 'different' personality. Hoffman finds it hard to devote much time to sort-of-girlfriend Teri Garr, and all the while is growing more deeply attracted to soap costar Jessica Lange.
"Hoffman triumphs in what must stand as one of his most brilliant performances. His Dorothy is entirely plausible and, physically, reasonably appealing. But much more importantly, he gets across the enormous guts and determination required of his character to go through with the charade."
From Roger Ebert's website (www.rogerebert.com), his 1982 review of the film:
"One of the most endearing things about Tootsie, a movie in which Dustin Hoffman plays a middle-aged actress, is that the actress is able to carry most of her own scenes as herself --- even if she weren't being played by Hoffman. Tootsie works as a story, not as a gimmick.
"It also works as a lot of other things. Tootsie is the kind of Movie with a capital M that they used to make in the 1940s, when they weren't afraid to mix up absurdity with seriousness, social comment with farce, and a little heartfelt tenderness right in there with the laughs. This movie gets you coming and going.
"Hoffman stars as Michael Dorsey, a character maybe not unlike Hoffman himself in his younger days. Michael is a New York actor, bright, aggressive, talented --- and unemployable. 'You mean nobody in New York wants to hire me?' he asks his agent, incredulously. 'I'd go farther than that, Michael,' his agent says. 'Nobody in Hollywood wants to hire you, either.'
"Michael has a bad reputation for taking stands, throwing tantrums, and interpreting roles differently than the director. How to get work? He goes with a friend (Teri Garr) to an audition for a soap opera. The character is a middle-age woman hospital administrator. When his friend doesn't get the job, Michael goes home, thinks, decides to dare, and dresses up in drag and goes to an audition himself. And, improvising brilliantly, he gets the role.
"That leads to Tootsie's central question: Can a 40-ish New York actor find health, happiness and romance as a 40-ish New York actress? Dustin Hoffman is actually fairly plausible as 'Dorothy,' the actress. If his voice isn't quite right, a Southern accent allows it to squeak by. The wig and the glasses are a little too much, true, but in an uncanny way the woman played by Hoffman looks like certain actual women who look like drag queens. Dorothy might have trouble passing in Evanston, but in Manhattan, nobody gives her a second look.
"Tootsie might have been content to limit itself to the complications of New York life in drag; it could have been 'Victor/Victoria Visits Elaine's.' But the movie's a little more ambitious than that. Michael Dorsey finds to his interest and amusement that Dorothy begins to take on a life of her own. She's a liberated eccentric, a woman who seems sort of odd and funny at first, but grows on you and wins your admiration by standing up for what's right.
"One of the things that bothers Dorothy is the way the soap opera's chauvinist director (Dabney Coleman) mistreats and insults the attractive young actress (Jessica Lange) who plays Julie, a nurse on the show. Dorothy and Julie become friends and finally close confidants. Dorothy's problem, however, is that the man inside her is gradually growing uncontrollably in love with Julie.
"There are other complications. Julie's father (Charles Durning), a gruff, friendly, no-nonsense sort, lonely but sweet, falls in love with Dorothy. Michael hardly knows how to deal with all of this, and his roommate (Bill Murray) isn't much help. Surveying Dorothy in one of her new outfits, he observes drily, 'Don't play hard to get.'
"Tootsie has a lot of fun with its plot complications; we get almost every possible variation on the theme of mistaken sexual identities. The movie also manages to make some lighthearted but well-aimed observations about sexism. It also pokes satirical fun at soap operas, New York show business agents and the Manhattan social pecking order. And it turns out to be a touching love story, after all --- so touching that you may be surprised how moved you are at the conclusion of this comedy."
TOOTSIE won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (Lange). It was also nominated for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Hoffman), Supporting Actress (Garr), Original Screenplay (Gelbart, Murray Schisgal, McGuire), Cinematography (Owen Roizman), Editing (Fredric Steinkamp, William Steinkamp), Song ("It Might Be You" by Dave Grusin, Alan and Marilyn Bergman), and Sound (Arthur Piantadosi, Les Fresholtz, Dick Alexander, Les Lazarowitz).