Goodbye, Columbus

"Excellent"

Goodbye, Columbus Review


There have been more than a few movies made about young adults at an impasse: The Graduate, Walking and Talking, and The Brothers McMullen quickly come to mind. Nobody ever talks about the underrated Goodbye, Columbus, but they should.

Based on Philip Roth's acclaimed novella, Columbus stars Richard Benjamin as Neal Klugman, a young Jewish slacker from the Bronx who is no particular hurry to become an adult. He appears headed toward a summer of idling his hours at his library job, until he meets pretty, patrician Brenda Potemkin (Ali MacGraw) at a posh upstate New York swim club. Almost on a whim, he asks her out. She accepts. What begins out of sociological curiosity quickly becomes a relationship, much to her parents' (Jack Klugman and Nan Martin) silver spoon chagrin.

What's so refreshing about the movie is that the comedy and dramatic tension doesn't come from Neal interacting with Brenda's parents, but from how the kids' romance survives and blooms despite their own stereotypes. Neal does not expect Radcliffe girl Brenda to skinny dip, and Brenda certainly doesn't expect Neal to be an emotional pillar when she talks about her poor upbringing.

There are millions of people who will always remember MacGraw from Love Story, which is unfortunate. In Columbus, she makes Brenda into someone worth knowing -- funny, charming, and scared of what her parents might think. She exudes a guarded confidence that's perfect for the role. Benjamin is great in the other lead role. Underneath the well-worn sarcasm is an earnest charm that makes him completely sympathetic. These are characters you would want to hang out with, who you hope stay together.

Director Larry Peerce and screenwriter Arnold Schulman, who received an Academy Award nomination, also do a nice job with the little touches. Just by watching the Potemkins we realize that the family is a lot like Neal's noisy clan. They eat like pigs, and Mr. Potemkin looks out of place with his shabby clothing and coarse behavior.

Peerce and Schulman's main accomplishment is in showing the difficulties of accepting adulthood: Brenda's lunkhead brother (Michael Meyers) responds to everybody like he's still a college athlete, and Brenda and Neal's last moments together show how awkward and painful that transition is. Not every love story ends with an impromptu bus ride, as much as we'd like to think otherwise. Sometimes someone says they're sorry.



Goodbye, Columbus

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 21st May 1969

Distributed by: Paramount

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Willow Tree

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 9

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Larry Peerce

Producer: Stanley R. Jaffe

Starring: as Neil Klugman, as Brenda Patimkin, as Ben Patimkin

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.