Parents' Guide to


By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

'80s comedy-drama has mature themes, profanity.

Movie R 1986 108 minutes
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Excellent acting and an intelligent script keeps HEARTBURN from being lumped in with other 1980s comedy-dramas that haven't aged as well. Despite occasional forays into clichéd New York City parochialism -- at one point, Meryl Streep's character, about to move to D.C. from Manhattan, laments how, "You can't get a decent bagel in Washington, D.C.!" -- and the large glasses and big perms of the time, the film goes beyond its time and place to explore timeless themes of love, marriage, and infidelity.

The comedy and the drama perfectly balance each other out; the humor keeps the serious concerns from being too dour, and the drama keeps the movie from being too lighthearted or meaningless. The result is a poignant exploration of life before, during, and after a marriage that somehow finds hope in the face of cynical despair. It's when these issues -- marriage, monogamy, fidelity -- are confronted head-on that Heartburn attains a timeless relevance.

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