Crossing Delancey

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Crossing Delancey Movie Poster Image
Delightful '80s romcom has some profanity, sexuality.
  • PG
  • 1988
  • 97 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Values strong family connections, lasting friendships, hard work, and solid relationships. Advocates for finding beauty in goodness, integrity, and warmth rather than charm, status, and pretension.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Already smart, ambitious, and competent, heroine learns that she can balance her life by accepting love and an honest relationship. Portrays a close, loving grandparent-grandchild relationship in great detail. Set on Manhattan's Upper West Side and Lower East Side communities, there is some gently comic stereotyping of both the literati and Jewish characters. A Jewish matchmaker is purposefully coarse but likable. Elderly women in a self-defense class are parodied.

Violence
Sex

Heroine is involved in an implied casual sexual relationship with a married man; they are seen in bed after a sexual encounter. Some comic sexual banter between two women in a steam room. Two young women are shown in sexy underwear and in a steam room wearing towels. Kissing and foreplay in a man's apartment is cut short.

Language

"Hell," "a--hole," "balls," "schmuck."

Consumerism

Moët, Coffee Lite, Cherry Heering, Schapiro's Kosher Wine, Pappardella restaurant.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine and alcoholic beverages are served in social settings: bookstore party, dinner, poetry reading, at home. Heroine gets a little tipsy in one scene. Some characters smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crossing Delancey is a warmhearted, engaging story of a young woman falling in love in 1980s Manhattan. It's as much about New York City as it is about Izzy Grossman. From the hallowed cubbies of one of the last independent book stores on the Upper West Side, with its poetry readings, self-absorbed writers, and eager young intellects, to the kosher kitchens, outspoken busybodies, and loving arms of an aging grandmother in a Lower East Side Jewish neighborhood, Izzy struggles to balance her own diversity. There's no overt sexuality; expect some kissing and foreplay as well as light sexual themes, references, and comic banter (infidelity and seduction included). Two young women are seen in bras and panties and later wearing towels in a sauna. A sprinkling of salty language ("hell," "a--hole," "balls," "schmuck") is heard. Characters drink adult beverages (wine, schnapps) in social settings; Izzy gets tipsy in one scene. A woman breastfeeds an infant (breast is covered) and a Jewish bris (traditional circumcision in the home) is held; the procedure is offscreen. Fine for teens and anyone else who enjoys a fairy tale romance about an independent woman determined to "have it all." 

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What's the story?

Isabelle Grossman (Amy Irving), in her 30s, is very pleased with her life as CROSSING DELANCEY opens. She loves and is loved in her workplace, a respected independent bookstore, where she schedules the readings, meets literary icons, and has a gigantic crush on prolific author Anton Maes (Jeroen Krabbe), who's head-over-heels in love with himself. Her Jewish grandmother, Ida (Reizl Bozyk), is not satisfied, however: Izzy needs to find a proper husband. And so, much to Izzy's chagrin, Ida has hired a matchmaker to find “the one.” When the already reluctant Izzy discovers that "the one” is a plainspoken pickle maker, her answer is an adamant no. She's simply not interested in Sam Posner (Peter Riegert). The radiant glow of the Upper West Side intelligentsia and the charm of Anton Maes is enough for Izzy; she's happy without a relationship. Sam is smitten, however, and Izzy can't help but be impressed by his quiet intelligence and thoughtfulness. When she fixes Sam up with a nice Jewish girl, and when Anton finally returns Izzy's interest with fervor, things get complicated on the streets of Manhattan. But Ida's not worried; that clever and worldly wise Jewish grandmother has overcome bigger obstacles than this one.

Is it any good?

A smart romantic-comedy that remains charming and fresh decades after it was made is a rare treat; Amy Irving and a delightful company of actors make it happen in this movie. Director Joan Micklin Silvers' characters and settings are rich examples of 1980s New York City -- the "bookish" set and the recent Jewish émigrés who arrived before and after World War II. It's a transitional film as well. Released on the heels of the 1970s women's rights movement, Izzy is a new breed of woman: ambitious, loving the career she's forged all by herself, and keeping romantic entanglements either casual or lusting from afar. In the 1980s finding a balance among love, marriage, and independence was a new phenomenon; Silver brought that paradox to the screen. It's a simple story, in its way wonderfully predictable. No other ending would have been right for Izzy. A wonderful film for families to watch together, especially for teens who like romance that feels real and has a beating heart at its core.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the specific settings in this movie. How do the filmmakers use both the bookstore and Izzy's grandmother's house to define the heroine's character?

  • Movies about different ethnic or societal groups offer a glimpse into communities with which we may not be familiar. Which movies have you seen that enlightened you about a specific culture? In what ways does knowledge about different cultures increase your empathy and your appreciation?

  • Famous singer-songwriter Carole King wrote music for this movie. How do her songs contribute to the story? To the characters?

  • Could this movie have taken place in any city other than New York? Why, or why not?

Movie details

For kids who love romcoms

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