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Cooler Climate

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Susan Seidelman

Reeling from a divorce, ex-upper class woman Iris Prue (Field) heads to the coast of Maine and takes up work as a housekeeper for the wealthy, spiteful Paula Tanner (Davis), who has already gone through a slew of housekeepers. Jealous of Iris' ability … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Dramas
Director: Susan Seidelman
Release Date: 1999
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Cooler Climate

Cooler Climate - two women on the edge

  • Jun 22, 2001
Pros: Acting is great, story is acceptable, a hanky movie

Cons: not an original idea, but that's ok too

The Bottom Line: Sensitive and informative and just a warm fuzzy

Iris Prue (Sally Fields) is a recently divorced woman ("it's not an affair, I love him") and is suddenly facing life with no resources, even her daughter has turned her back on mother. She accepts a position as housekeeper in a secluded beach town to Paula Tanner (Judy Davis), who is a snob of the highest order. Immediately personalities conflict and tension sets in between the two women.

Tanner has a reputation around town for losing her housekeepers faster than she can hire them, with good reason. She's an out and out snob. She is also a lonely and dejected woman from a prominent marriage. Typical ‘new money' society woman, spoiled, selfish, pinched, but incredibly lonely. Mr. Tanner (Jerry Wasserman) is a successful playwright in ‘the city' with a wandering eye and little respect for his wife. They are the proud parents of Beth (Carly Pope) rebellious daughter with no respect for either parent.

There is nothing Iris can do that can make Mrs. Tanner ("my name is not Paula, it is Mrs. Tanner") happy, but frankly there is probably no way to make Mrs. Tanner happy. You can see under the surface that Mrs. Tanner is starting to develop a relationship with Iris, but now Iris is the one that is shutting things off and turning into a more professional mode.

Meantime Mrs. Tanner goes into town and leaves Iris to her own means for the weekend. Iris joins the locals and establishes a budding romance with Jack (Winston Reckert), a local sculptor, but still remains somewhat standoffish from the townspeople. While the Tanners are away, Beth decides to play, stopping by the house and getting into all sorts of trouble.

Iris and Beth form a tentative friendship - seems Beth has been longing for a mommy and Iris has been longing for a daughter. Who knew?

Will Beth remain the rebel? Will the Tanners stay together or will Mr. Tanner finally leave that snippy little wench and move on to softer and more supple pastures? Will Iris and Jack get it on or will they separate, as happens to most summer romances? Will Iris ever see her daughter again?

Sitting on the sidelines
A refreshing change for me, this movie contained some wonderful acting. Fields and Davis were both outstanding in their delivery and had you rooting for them - even that b-i-t-c-h-y Mrs. Tanner cause you really knew she wasn't truly all that.

Fields character was a good representation of modern woman in todays world - standing by her man until he becomes successful and then suddenly facing her later years alone and without funds. Of course, in Iris's case, she brought this on with her little affair, but the feelings were still transferred with a good deal of emotion.

Mrs. Tanner represents the other half of the world - too much money and no way to spend it. Facing empty houses and empty lives, surrounded by all their little ‘things' that they consider important when instead their lives are dismal failures.

This little beach town reminded me a lot of Folly Beach, SC, a place I love to visit, populated with old hippies on a quest to find their true selves. Of course, that is probably true of most beach towns.

This was a surprisingly enjoyable movie, the characters, though shallow, and the outcome predictable, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I think you might be surprised yourself.

Directed by Susan Seidelman.

Susi :)


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