Thursday, April 12, 2012
Breezy (2 stars)
Breezy, an R-rated film from 1973, is a May-December romantic drama starringWilliam Holden and Kay Lenz. One of the earliest directorial works of Clint Eastwood, this film was one I recently watched for the first time for my William Holden viewing month. While I rarely watch post-1965 (or R-rated) films, with my desire to see all the works of my #1 guy, I decided to take a chance on this one---and my decision to pretty much avoid those kinds of films was reconfirmed.
After a night of passion with a young man named Bruno, kind-hearted, guitar-playing "hippie" teenager, Edith "Breezy" Breezerman" (Kay Lenz), hitches a ride into the valley with a middle-aged man. Frightened by the things the man has said to her, Breezy dashes from his car, while at a stoplight, and races away from him---and right into the life of another middle aged man---divorced real estate agent, Frank Harmon (William Holden). Although Frank tells her he doesn't pick up hitchhikers, Breezy climbs into his car anyway and proceeds to chatter non-stop as they make their way to town. Frank, a loner who enjoys his privacy, finds Breezy rather a nuisance, but seeing something in him she likes and trusts, Breezy isn't put off by his initial coldness.
Having left her guitar in the backseat of Frank's car, Breezy makes a visit to his house to pick it up, and though Frank is rude and somewhat unkind, Breezy's warmhearted nature begins to charm him---he feeds her, allows her to use his luxurious walk-in shower, and, at her request, provides her with her first-ever view of the Pacific Ocean. Before long, Breezy is in love with Frank and has moved in to one of the guestrooms of his home.
Returning home from a party one night, Frank discovers Breezy waiting for him in his bed, asking him to make love with her. As the two of them embark on a sexual relationship, Frank begins to struggle with the age difference between them---he is mistaken as her father when he takes her clothes shopping, and he is highly embarrassed when he takes Breezy to a movie (Clint Eastwood's High Plains Drifter, no less!) and runs into friends at the theatre. Telling his friend he feels like a child molester, Frank determines that the best thing to do is break things off with Breezy. How it all plays out is the balance of the film.
Breezy was a total turn-off to me for a number of reasons. First and foremost---the nudity. While such a view is out of sync with most movie-goers nowadays, I am unashamed to admit that I don't prefer nudity in the movies I watch. I find it completely unnecessary. Especially when you consider that earlier decades gave us passionate---even sensual---films, and they did so without nudity or graphic sex, you realize that those things are SO unnecessary to make a point. (A Place in the Sun, From Here to Eternity, and Picnic being just a few examples of that.) Sadly, as society's moral standards changed through the 60's and into the 70's, Hollywood's offerings reflected that change, and while a decade earlier, things would have been left to the imagination, by the time Breezy was made, nudity was not only accepted, but expected as well; here in Breezy, there were three or four nude scenes (female), all of which could have been left out. Instead of adding to the romance or passion, those scenes only made the film trashy to me.
Another turn-off for me was the Holden/Lenz romance. While I have no problems with May-December romance and even really love other May-December romance movies (Middle of the Night and Ten North Frederick being among my ten favorite movies), this particular older man/younger woman romance was quite unappealing to me. Breezy was filmed in late 1972, when my beloved Bill was 54 years old; however, much as it pains me to say it since I completely adore this man, he looked to be about ten years older than that. On the other hand, Kay Lenz, though 19 here, looked much younger...perhaps 15. For me, a 15 year old girl and a 65 year old man is pushing the envelope, so I just didn't find myself rooting for them. While he was thought to be her father in one scene, quite honestly, he looked more like her grandfather. (This film was released when I was 12 years old; even if I had been allowed to see an R-rated movie at that age, I can assure you, I would have been "grossed out" by this relationship.)
Finally, I'm not a fan of "hippie" movies. I quite hate that time period and the things which go with it. To be honest, William Holden---and my desire to see all of his films---is the only reason I chose to watch Breezy. Had another man had the lead part, I would never have given it even a minute of my time, and it is only my love for Mr. Holden which keeps this film at 2 stars rather than 1. (Mostly because I feel, nudity aside, this film had to be a rather bold and courageous career move for him, and I am rewarding him for that.)
Since I want to have something positive to say about this film, I will acknowledge that the acting of both William Holden and Kay Lenz was very good (as is always the case for Mr. Holden). Miss Lenz also consistently offered an incredibly bright and beautiful smile. Clint Eastwood's direction was very good, and although I found the love scenes a turn-off and even fast-forwarded through them, they appeared to be filmed well. William Holden's son, Scott, makes an appearance in the film...as the veterinarian. Father and son shared a scene together.
Oh, there were two occasions I found myself laughing hysterically. First, Breezy has just told Frank that smoking was worse for someone his age than for someone younger. Right after that, she asks him if he is married. His response, "No. There's very little call these days for old, decrepit, one-foot-in-the-grave smokers." Later, she asked him if he thought God was dead, and he responded, "I didn't even know he was sick." For some reason, those two exchanges quite hit my funny bone, and I giggled hysterically.
Bottom-line---because of the excessive and unnecessary nudity and the early 70's attitude towards free and easy sex, Breezy is not a film I feel comfortable recommending. However, should you desire to watch it, the film is out on DVD, plus it is available through Net Flix instant viewing.