Directed by Lisa Dapolito
Starring Gilda Radner (archive footage), Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, Bill Hader, Chevy Chase, Janis Hirsch, Lorne Michaels, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, Laraine Newman, Maya Rudolph, Cecily Strong, Stephen Schwartz, Alan Zweibel, Rosie Shuster, Martin Short, Andrew Alexander, Anne Beatts, Robin Zweibel, Michael Radner, & Paul Shaffer
Release Date: September 21, 2018
Running Time: 1hr 28min
Rating: Not Rated
A documentary on the life an career of comedian and actress, Gilda Radner. From home movies and pictures, to archive clips from her theatre days with Second City and National Lampoon (featuring footage with Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, Harold Ramis, and Martin Short), to being one of the original cast members of the groundbreaking sketch comedy series, Saturday Night Live (1975), with Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, and Laraine Newman. We see interviews with Lorne Michaels (creator of SNL), a couple of her former SNL cast members, family members, close friends, and 21st century SNL cast members who read entries from her diaries and talk about the impact she had.
Sprinkled throughout are audio and video archives of Radner in interviews, talking about her personal life, including her eating disorder. She had romantic ups and downs, eventually finding love with acclaimed actor, Gene Wilder. The two married in 1984, remaining together until her death in 1989 from ovarian cancer.
The documentary was met with near universal acclaim when it originally came out, and it’s easy to see why! This is a heartfelt tribute to one of the funniest people to ever live. I was born in 1987, so I didn’t see a lot of Radner’s material till I was older, but that probably helped me appreciate it more. I’m also grateful that we existed on this planet together, even if it was brief. I’m also a sucker for vintage photos and home movies, which this has plenty of.
My only real complaints are I wish we had interviews with her other SNL cast members (there are probably ones out there already), also that there was narration for the text from her diaries appearing on screen as it was sometimes hard to read (though this may not be a problem to some). These really are only minor issues I had, and I feel the overall documentary is wonderful. It’s available by on DVD and is streaming on Hulu. Have some tissues handy if you cry easily!
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