Afterglow (1997) Poster

(1997)

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7/10
A flawed work but definately worth a look.
barbarella701 December 2002
There's no doubt Julie Christie was one of the most unique personalities of the late sixties and early seventies. A remote beauty who was sexy and charming in Billy Liar and Darling, haunting and enigmatic in Don't Look Now and McCabe and Mrs. Miller and one of the few things worth remembering about Doctor Zhivago. Her notorious pickiness when it comes to choosing roles has served her well and she is one of the few stars from that time who has moved quite gracefully through a film career. Her resources as an actress allow the character of Phyllis Mann to come alive in a way that few could accomplish and the magic she creates is unforgetable. Laid back hipster Alan Rudolph's sexual roundelay has a lush look on top and a jazzy score below but it's Christie who sears the visuals with sadness, mystery, and wit. Nick Nolte's rugged charm serves him well throughout and when these two are alone together on screen, the art of film acting is proudly displayed. Watch the scene when a drunken Phyllis tries to rekindle their physical relationship and notice the body language. Note to filmmakers: Rudolph's genius is knowing when not to move the camera and in trusting his actors to do the work.

The film seems ponderous and flat at first and Johnny Lee Miller and Lara Flynn Boyle are still learning their craft (their scenes do grate), but Afterglow is a cockeyed success for those with patience.
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7/10
Julie's the whole show
FANatic-1010 April 1999
I have extremely mixed feelings about this film. On the one hand, I have only praise for Alan Rudolph for writing a great character for Julie Christie to play and giving her a role she could truly sink her teeth in and prove again what a sensational actress she is. And yet - the film that has been built around her is an almost total dud. I found the plot lame, and Lara Flynn Boyle and Jonny Lee Miller execrable. But when Nick Nolte and especially Julie Christie are on screen, all is forgiven. They're great together, but it's Christie's film all the way. She is such a rarity - an actress who combines genuine Movie Star Glamour, the real deal, with a thoroughly modern sensibility. I could go on gushing, but let me just say that she is sublime and this film gives us an all too rare opportunity to see her in full glory, albeit in a vehicle that's less than worthy of her.
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9/10
an elegant film
patc-526 January 2004
The writer/ director Alan Rudolph clearly understands the beauty of woman. The combination of Julie Christie and Lara Flynn Boyle is beautifully juxtaposed. Nick Nolte provides the rough male energy that highlights the facets of the younger / older woman beauty esthetic. The screenplay provided excellent scenes and the camera work and lighting was top notch. My only disappointment was that I did not see this gem on the big screen.
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8/10
Human beings and their faults in relationships with coincidences?
DukeEman1 September 2003
The lives of a has-been-actress, a charming sleazy plumber, a bored housewife and a stressed corporate head intertwined in this low key screwball. If made by studio heads this film would have been hard to swallow, but when handled by the maestro, Alan Rudolph, and starring real actors, it works a treat.
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1/10
Made no sense
stancym-13 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I only give it a 2 instead of a 1 because Julie Christie is always such a joy to watch.

The problem is, you can't figure out what is going on much of the time. Plot lines seem to make no sense. Example: at the end, Christie is crying. Has her daughter died or not? That is never made clear. If not, what is she sobbing about? Then there is the scene where Christie tries to seduce husband Nolte. She is attempting to repair their marriage. It is not clear why he rejects her, he seems to love her and it was she who had called off their sex life, not he. There is no discussion of this event afterward to clarify things.

Characters throughout behave in ways that seem very unlikely and you can't figure them out. If a movie is going to be this surreal and confusing, it should be funny or suspenseful. This is neither. The Jonny Lee Miller character is peculiar beyond belief and that is never resolved. You can't figure him out at all,even at the end.

Enough said, avoid this movie. You can see Christie in Away from Her, a far superior film.
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9/10
turn down the words... listen to the music... watch the pictures.
TonggRanchRoad19 November 1999
Not a great story (even annoying at times), but a great film. Beautifully photographed by Kurita, with more than a few truly mesmerizing enchanting moments. Many of those scenes capture the essence of nonchalance which Julie Christie has perfected (or reveals of herself). Her magical detached, casual, indifference thru Kurita's lens is the power and soul of Afterglow.
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10/10
What, not enough gunplay?
Del-616 January 1999
Afterglow is one of the best films of 1997. Julie Christie has been away too long. With the exception of her role as Gertrude in the 1996 version of Hamlet, I can't recall such a performance in years, and she radiates pure magic in this one. Nick Nolte is always at his best in the smaller, independent films and his portrayal in Afterglow is nothing short of brilliant. So, why isn't it available on laserdisc or DVD?
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5/10
Great to see Julie Christie, at least
Boyo-217 June 2002
I like Alan Rudolph movies. I always thought of him as Robert Altman Lite.

When I saw "Welcome to L.A." in 1902 (I am exaggerating, but barely), I loved it and it seemed very Altman-like, and even starred some of the Altman-ettes like Geraldine Chaplin and Sissy Spacek. Most of the people were unhappy and if I'm not mistaken, Chaplin spends the whole movie in taxi cabs, taking pictures of the corners of buildings.

When I saw "Choose Me" years later, it had a breezy, jazzy feel to it that I loved. It was about people in love, unlucky in love, wanting more love, wanting love from someone else, etc.

"Afterglow" is a little like both of these movies. It has its jazz soundtrack intact and the people are miserable.

In a nutshell, Julie and Nick haven't had a decent moment together since before they can remember. Lara and Johnny Lee are much younger but also accumulating many bad moments. Secrets are revealed.

Both couples switch mates. They are not that much happier. Both find out about the other. That's it.

Nolte and Julie Christie have some good scenes together, but she has much more chemistry with Johnny Lee Miller, who gives the best performance in the movie by a mile. He nails his role as a yuppie/scumbag perfectly.

The whole thing is way too long. There are unnecessary scenes galore. If it were not for Julie Christie, I would have lasted 20 minutes w/this one. 5/10.
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6/10
More like a bad after taste than an after glow.
=G=15 June 2002
"You're the most fascinating woman I've ever met", he tells her after knowing her for about five minutes. Perhaps that will give you a sense of the sophomoric nature of "Afterglow"; a film which tells of two neurotic married couples, one middle aged (Nolte/Christie) and one younger (Boyle/Miller), and their respective interwoven infidelities. With a solid core cast and good technical and artistic capabilities and an interesting premise, "Afterglow" should have offered more than characters we're not given to care about even if we could suspend disbelief long enough to care. Nonetheless, there's enough going for this mediocre drama to make it a worthwhile small screen watch for sofa spuds with an appetite for the subject.
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8/10
Christie has never been better
MOscarbradley11 June 2018
Julie Christie is phenomenonally good as the bored, ageing former B-movie star married to philandering handyman Nick Nolte, (also superb), in Alan Rudolph's little-seen but brilliant serio-comic movie "Afterglow". They are one unhappily married couple; the other unhappily married couple are Jonny Lee Miller and Lara Flynn Boyle and it's their apartment Nolte is hired to redesign and the movie is a slick, cynical, funny comedy of adultery.

Unfortunately neither Miller nor Boyle are really up to the demands of the script leaving Nolte and Christie to do all the work and there were times I wished the movie had ditched the younger couple altogether. To say that this is the best thing Christie has ever done is something of an understatement. She may have lost the Oscar but at least she won the New York Film Critics prize. Robert Altman produced the picture and the terrific score is by Mark Isham.
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1/10
Porn for the toupee crowd
inframan17 July 1999
Boy, how does a turkey like this get made? Don't people get embarrassed any more? Actually the sets are fabulous, the apartment where the young couple lives is breathtaking _ too bad the actors have to be in the way so much. But the rest of it, the tired lines, the off-the-wall performances are sooooo pathetic. What is it with directors casting Nick Nolte as the big macho seducer? He looks like an old bag of gravel. His hair in this is a riot: draws all your attention when he's on the screen. But I do get it: he's playing the part that Kris Kristofferson used to play in Alan Rudolph pics. HEY, GOOD CASTING!!!
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2/10
The Only Film I've Ever Walked Out On
marinar-115 August 2005
Dreadful puns. Unbearable middle-class, underwritten archness. Acting, script that jars even more mercilessly once you realize they're not elements of an avant-garde distanciation strategy. Probably the only film I've ever seen that elicited sheer untrammeled loathing at every moment of viewing, usually bad films only evoke a mild bemusement and wondering when it'll be over, an expectation that it may improve. Compare with meeting someone who fills you with such futility and tedium after the first few words of conversation that you just walk away from them with no excuses or explanations. This film is that person.

tedious, irritating schlock.A pristine 'chamber piece' of fatuous complacency. The 1st 20 min came with such an undertow of nauseous inertia, life flashing before eyes, etc, that didn't stick with it. Maybe should watch it again? Do they all get blown up in the end?
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7/10
Rudolph not at his best, but good enough
SKG-213 February 1999
Calling Alan Rudolph an acquired taste is like calling CASABLANCA just a WWII film; it doesn't even begin to tell the story. I happen to like his films when they don't star Keith Carradine (whom I don't like), but can see why others don't. In a Rudolph film, plot is less important than mood and texture, and there really isn't much of a plot in this film, it's pretty much all mood and texture. The dialogue he writes is also right out of the 30's and 40's (a friend once said Rudolph films are what would happen in Bogart ended up in a Fred Astaire movie).

In this movie, the dialogue sometimes falls flat, and some of the tone shifts are jarring. In addition, Miller's character is a complete lout; we hardly understand why Boyle, let alone Christie, would even bother with him. And Boyle had a character to play in Rudolph's EQUINOX, but here, she just flails around.

Nevertheless, this is a good movie, and that's partly because of the romantic pull Rudolph does achieve, and because of the performances of Nick Nolte and Julie Christie. Although both of them are playing characters past their prime, Rudolph films them like old movie stars would be filmed, and matches his tempo to their performances, which are relaxed and confident (which contrasts to Boyle and Miller, whose discomfort is obvious). Critics up here noted this was one of the few, if not the only, U.S. films filmed in Canada (Montreal) that actually took place there.
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7/10
Just plain fun
warmsox22 September 2002
I saw this movie and very thoroughly enjoyed it. No, it was not realistic, no, it was not stellar acting, or serious story. It was exactly what it bills itself to be, a romance-comedy. This movie is good escapism. If you need a smile, or just to sit back and relax without getting all overly engrossed in a movie, this is a good one to pick.
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1/10
Lower than awful
patate-24 October 1998
Let's look at this straight in the eyes: there are good sides to this pic. You get to see Julie Christie in a recent film, you get to see Montréal as an imaginary place. You get to see Nick Nolte. Now The bad news: this film is rotten, unlikely, pretentious and boring. Very boring.
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Unhappy people with lots of secrets
Wilburrabbit23 June 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Two couples: one young, another older. The younger male is a cold fish (some hint of his being a repressed homosexual - the gay friend coming out, etc.); she is a flighty wife (bad acting by Ms. Boyle). Obtuse frigid Christie, and studly Nolte. All this mess spoiled by bits of slapstick which jerk the viewer about. Also some speeded up scenes which come out of left field. And completely unintelligible ending. Without being a spoiler - no idea of what the person in the final scene was doing. Not even clear as to who it was, in my opinion.
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5/10
So Bland
gavin69421 July 2016
A handyman with marital problems (Nick Nolte) meets a housewife (Lara Flynn Boyle) with the same.

This is really about as average as movies get. The cast is decent, with Lara Flynn Boyle leading the way. Julie Christie received an Oscar nomination... it must have been a slow year, or maybe it was a "career Oscar", because this is not an outstanding film that needed to be singled out by the Academy.

There is no humor, no exciting twists or turns. This is just your standard film of loveless marriage and infidelity. Not one thing about it really stands out as unique. So, what happened here? Why did great actors sign on? Why did Robert Altman help produce?
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8/10
Enjoyable offbeat comedy
simon_sparrow16 August 2001
Julie Christie is magnificent as Phyl Mann, wife of Nick Nolte's Lucky "Fix-it" Mann. Age has not been kind to the couple until they find an odd path to revitalization. Nick Nolte makes the offbeat casting work, and Charlotte Rampling has a magnificent supporting role.
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1/10
One of the worst movies I've ever seen with such good actors
cdexter118 February 2000
For totally phony dialog and unlikely situations, this movie has few peers. I hated it from the first word to the last - not the last word in the movie, just the last one I could stand to listen to. The characters were completely unbelievable and totally one-dimensional and the plot and dialog were ham-fisted and stereotypical to the nth degree. It's too bad that such good actors (except Lara Flynn Boyle, who was more or less unspeakably terrible) were wasted in this shallow, boring, irritating pretentious garbage.
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1/10
Just what was this crap all about?
helpless_dancer19 July 1999
Lucky 'Fix-it' Mann meets an unhappy, frustrated female client and winds up in bed with her after mouthing some of the most boring one liners I've ever heard. Meanwhile, Lucky's equally frustrated wife falls into bed with Lucky's girlfriend's hubby after some equally abysmal dialogue. Is Hollywood so desperate for films that they will accept anything, or was this garbage rammed through by some powerful yet untalented mogul? Seldom has a picture been this devastatingly dull. One gross of thumbs down. -12 stars. Gad!!
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1/10
Profound, humorless, pretentious, boring waste of time and money.
patate-25 October 1998
If this is the US film industry answer to nouvelle-vague and Alain Tanner, I'd rather be in Switzerland. Beside, The apartment building Habitat 67 and the apartment don't fit. Furthermore, what has a punk such as Johnny Lee Miller got to do with that job. He never seems to work and anyways looks too disturbed to do anything but walk on the roof. Next what are the chances of him having an affair with his wife's lover' wife: slim, right? What's that thing about Christie and Nolte's estranged daughter. I did not get it. The only hint of humor is when Miller jumps or falls off a bridge and beaks a leg. Get it?
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2/10
A disappointment
batard6661 March 2000
I thought that this movie was a piece of intelligence and fun. But, in reality, this movie is just a long, long long movie who is really boring.

Boyle is really bad, in an overexcited wife's character. She's gap of subtility. Miller and Nolte are really average. But Christie are excellent !!!!

The script is stupid and boring. For the direction, is repetitive.

Really boring, avoid it please !!!
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One Time
benkatz1001 July 2001
what is this movie all about? The need for love. The ending is not completly managable but it has just the right tone to give you the right mood. The storytelling is weak, though. Jullie and Nick DO look great together and give some strong appearances throughout the movie. Worth seeing? once, only once.
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10/10
A phenomenal gem
Slut8 September 1998
"Afterglow" is a wonderful movie. Helped by superb acting, a fine story and a great director. Julie Christie is dazzling and should've received the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her performance is also helped by the performances of Nick Nolte, and Johnny Lee Miller. This drama does a wonderful job of exploring the intricacies of damaged relationships. Although the film's running time is nearly two hours, it feels nothing like it. It moves so fluidly and the storyline never falters. "Afterglow" is a wonderful little gem that everyone should see
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2/10
skip the film, buy the soundtrack
lioninoil27 September 2003
I bought the "Afterglow" soundtrack prior to hearing it, and to seeing the movie, because it is composed by Mark Isham and performed by Charles Lloyd -- two underheralded greats of modern music. I still congratulate myself on that purchase; this soundtrack is one of the best ever. The movie, on the other hand, was a *HUGE* disappointment. What was Alan Rudolph thinking?? The stilted dialogue, the muddled story-line, the confused editing, the glacial pace... and that ending! What was *that* about??

Do yourself a favour: go directly to the best part of the film and buy the soundtrack album. In the liner notes, Alan Rudolph wrote: "Like the glow which remains after a source of light is gone, this music is guaranteed to illuminate any place in your heart where love has been."

Amen to that.
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