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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday July 12, 2020 

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Judith Nelson (Holly Hunter) finally catches up with her unfaithful cardiologist husband, Bob (Martin Donovan) – over an upmarket restaurant dinner in New York. Left on her own, and having left a medical career in his honour, Judith walks through her life on empty, until a freak little incident in a nightclub back room that kick starts her search for a new life. She starts to see people in a new light, too – like Liz Baily (Queen Latifah), the singer at the nightclub and her apartment block elevator operator, Pat (Danny de Vito), with whom she forms a unique relationship.

"Delectable and delicious, Living Out Loud is one of those films that you just don't want to end! With toe-tapping, soulful jazz and a moody score playing an indispensable role, Richard LaGravenese has created a delicate, observant and hugely engaging work. A beautifully crafted screenplay allows this internal, complex observation of the workings of the human mind to blossom into an accessible and enjoyable experience. You feel as though you get to know the characters; they are so real, they are almost friends. Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito are beautifully matched in every respect – even in height! Hunter is riveting – she positively glows with an inner spirit that is totally infectious; DeVito is moving, vulnerable and will melt your heart. What they have in common in loneliness: they are both searching for their dreams. But sometimes dreams protest against reality, and choices are coloured by the head and not the heart. Inevitably, the search is rewarded by the revelation of self. Central to the evolution of the plot and characters is the cleverly written role of the soul singer, played by Queen Latifah, who is sensational. This inspired casting adds an extra element, magnifying the emotional impact. The lines and moments are memorable, as are many of the scenes – watch for the one with the hunky masseur to-die-for. You'll squeal with laughter and delight! This is a story about honesty, relationships and self. It's funny, it's sad, it's unexpected, it's wonderful. Living Out Loud will make your heart glow. It's life, seen from a special angle that shouldn't be missed."
Louise Keller

"It’s an engrossing film, emotionally expansive and full of superb moments of truth. Hunter and de Vito are searingly vulnerable and give riveting performances, and the script generates plenty of drama, comedy and not a little soul searching. From the palpably, painfully real opening scenes to the somewhat wistful ending, Living Out Loud brims with intimate observation; this is a film of close ups (though far from claustrophobic and sometimes virile in its coverage of New York, always wonderfully photographed) and close encounters. Yet there are reservations; some of the editing is confusing, and partly to blame is the use of fantasy sequences – which are otherwise marvellous and entertaining. I found a handful of scenes confusingly placed, throwing the film a little off balance. I also have reservations about husband Bob’s character being a tad one dimensional, but on the whole, the film gives off great vibes. Scenes such as the lesbian nightclub, all of the music and Queen Latifah’s singing scenes are sheer pleasure, as is all of the source as well as original music. Women will empathise, men will shrug. But those are just superficial responses; the film does have more to explore than mere gender rage."
Andrew L. Urban

"There are relatively few American films that are genuinely surprising. Welcome to the irresistible and beguiling Living Out Loud, a studio film that concentrates on the essence of character, rather than contrived situations, and while that is its strength, no doubt distributors would find it tough to market. But no matter, for this directorial debut by eloquent screenwriter Richard LaGravenese is a sexy, smart and droll comedy/drama, allowing star DeVito the chance to deliver his finest performance to date, in terms of its humour and pathos. Holly Hunter is sexy, funny and brilliant in this movie, and the film crackles with interesting characters and a freshness rarely seen in American films. They deliver LaGravenese's beautifully written dialogue with depth and resonance, and his understated direction works in beautifully with his wry comment on contemporary relationships. Also making this film truly special is the wonderful, scene-stealing Queen Latifah, who lights up the screen as a blues singer. There's a particularly special moment in the film, when Hunter and Latifah go to a dance club. Full of truly rich and memorable characters, faultless performances and sequences that alternate between the dryly funny and honest pathos, Living out Loud is a true gem of a film."
Paul Fischer

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See our BEHIND THE SCENES report




CAST: Holly Hunter, Danny DeVito, Queen Latifah, Martin Donovan, Richard

Schiff, Elias Koteas

DIRECTOR: Richard LaGravenese

PRODUCER: Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher

SCRIPT: Richard LaGravenese


EDITOR: Jon Gregory, Lynzee Klingman

MUSIC: George Fenton


RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes



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