|Hoffman as Michael as Dorothy.|
In Tootsie (1982), Dustin Hoffman plays Michael Dorsey, an out-of-work actor whose career soars after he lands a role--as a woman--on a television soap. His best friend (Bill Murray) and agent (director Sydney Pollack) are the only ones who know that he's impersonating a woman. That becomes a major problem when Michael falls in love with Julie (Jessica Lange), one of his co-stars on Southwest General.
|Oscar-winner Jessica Lange.|
While Tootsie works sporadically, it can't overcome its blemishes. For example, the outcomes of Michael's inevitable revelation are resolved far too neatly. It's hard to imagine Julie's father (Charles Durning) ever forgiving Michael after proposing marriage to Dorothy. Also, at the beginning of the film, Hoffman makes Michael almost too unlikable. I can see where Hoffman wanted to take his performance. By stressing Michael's character flaws, it makes his later transformation all the more effective. Still, it's a fine line to walk, even for an actor of Hoffman's caliber.
Tootsie was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Pollack), Best Actor (Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Lange and Teri Garr), and Best Song (the pretty "It Might Be You," a modest hit for Stephen Bishop). The only nominee to go to home with an Oscar statuette was Jessica Lange.
|Amy Irving as Izzy.|
Her Bubbie has decided that Izzy's life would be more fulfilling with a husband to share it. She has engaged the services of a marriage broker, much to her granddaughter's dismay. To please Bubbie, Isabelle (Amy Irving) agrees to meet the marriage broker's proposed candidate. Imagine her surprise when Sam (Peter Riegert) turns out to be a good-looking, financially-stable, charming guy.
|Izzy and her Bubbie.|
Amy Irving brings out the flaws in Izzy, while still keeping the character likable. It's perhaps her best performance, though I also think she was quite good in Brian De Palma's The Fury, opposite Richard Dreyfuss in The Competition, and in Yentl with Barbra Streisand.
The star of the film, though, is Reizl Bozyk as Bubbie. Her credits consist of two movies, including Crossing Delancey, and an episode of Law and Order. According to her New York Times obituary, Reizl Bozyk appeared in hundreds of Yiddish stage productions in New York, Argentina, and Poland. She was 74 when she appeared in Crossing Delancey, giving a heartfelt, nuanced performance as the loving, sometimes feisty, and always crafty Bubbie.