Tempest (1982) is an offbeat modern comedy inspired by
Shakespeare's The Tempest.
John Cassavetes plays a prominent New York architect, married to an actress (Gena
Rowland). They have one daughter named Miranda. As the film opens, the
"prosperous" father and Miranda (Molly Ringwald) are
living on a small Greek island with Raul Julia as an assistant named
Kalibanos and Susan Sarandon as a live-in friend. Sarandon and Cassavetes have a sexless
relationship, but Sarandon would much rather it wasn't. Molly Ringwald is
well into puberty, and looking for almost any man, but there is nobody else
on the island.
Then there is a series of flashbacks, explaining how Cassavetes, in the
throes of male menopause, got tired of his New York life and decided to move
to Greece to find his roots. Ringwald was allowed to follow for the summer,
after which she was to return home to mommy and mommy's new boyfriend, whom Ringwald couldn't stand. When the time came to go home, Ringwald refused.
The father and daughter had met Sarandon by then, and the trio moved to the
small Greek island to hide. Naturally, mom and her entire entourage come
looking for them.
The film is not without some problems in the writing and direction. The plot
is decidedly not a cliff-hanger, the film is a little long at 140 minutes,
and the multiple flashbacks make the narrative structure distracting. But
that's all overcome by the characterization, which is consistently engaging. This is a case
where a talented ensemble cast made the most of a so-so script. Cassavetes
plays the slightly bent dropout effectively, and Raul Julia is wonderful as
Kalibanos. Being a modern equivalent of Shakespeare's Caliban, he plays to
his goats with a clarinet instead of pipes. Molly, as she did in 16 Candles,
nailed the "cute little girl becoming a woman" schtick. (Tempest was her
first feature film.) I wish Sarandon had been given more
to do, but she looked wonderful and brightened the screen whenever she was on camera.
- readers say 6.2, a respectable score for an offbeat comedy. .
- Rotten Tomatoes gives it 71.
If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to
explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by
our definition, a
C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs
and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a: