"See You in the Morning" is a glossy soap opera that addresses issues somewhat rare in modern movies - remarriage and blended families.
But even audience members without first-hand experience in divorce, second-marriage and adapting to a second mate's children will find uni versal themes here as writer-director Alan J. Pakula delivers a funny, touching, romantic tribute to the spirit of survival among members of American families.As with most movies of this ilk ("Divorce, American Style" was an exception), we're dealing with Manhattan's upper crust - wealthy, even spoiled people who never have to cope with the gruesome, bitter financial realities divorce brings most people.
But that complaint aside, most of "See You in the Morning" is on target as it explores the emotional effects of its subject.
The central focus is Jeff Bridges, a successful New York psychiatrist whose successful international model wife Farrah Fawcett divorces him, though she is the unfaithful, flighty one. They have two young children, and Bridges has a tough time getting used to not having them around.
Three years later he finds himself married to aspiring photographer Alice Krige, widow of a famous pianist who committed suicide. She has two children also, played by teenage Drew Barrymore and younger Lukas Haas.
The film explores in flashback how these lives have come together, then goes forward with the results of their union. The result is largely affecting, though there are missteps: Pakula gets a bit too cutesy sometimes, as when Bridges proposes to Krige by dressing up in a diaper and talcum powder to look like cupid, and he can also become maudlin, as when Bridges' former mother-in-law (the wonderful Frances Sternhagen) dies after asking that he and his ex-wife scatter her ashes together.
I also wished Pakula had better utilized his supporting cast. Only Sternhagen and, as Krige's sister, Linda Lavin make more than sketches of their characters, and both do so very well. David Dukes, as Krige's first husband, and especially Theodore Bikel, as a family friend, are talented actors who are severely underused.
The pluses far outweigh the mi-nuses, however, led by the fine performances of Bridges and Krige, both quite illuminating and multi-dimensional in their roles. Barrymore and Haas are also excellent, managing to behave as real children and avoid the cliches we so often expect from Hollywood movies with child actors.
On the whole the film is a bit too pat, and the situations perhaps too "civilized," but Pakula pushes all the right buttons for response from those who have been there, and there is enough humor and genuine emotion to carry the rest of the audience along the way.
"See You in the Morning," rated PG-13 for a couple of profanities and some sexual content, is hardly up there with Pakula's best works - "All the President's Men," "Klute," "Sophie's Choice" - but it is a sincere effort and generally quite entertaining.