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Using Gilda Radner's own words, the documentary looks back and reflects on the comedian's life and career.

Courtesy of Mongrel

  • Love, Gilda
  • Written and directed by: Lisa Dapolito
  • Classification: PG
  • 88 minutes

rating

2.5 out of 4 stars

Like its subject, Lisa Dapolito’s Love, Gilda is deceptively upbeat. Part of the original cast of Saturday Night Live and creator of such characters as Roseanne Roseannadanna and Emily Litella, Gilda Radner was a comic blast, perpetually grinning, always able to raise a laugh. She was also lonely and needy, straining to find a loving relationship and conquer eating disorders. She had achieved breakthrough work as a woman in a male-dominated profession, but when she died of ovarian cancer in 1989, at the age of 42, she was struggling to establish a post-SNL career.

Love, Gilda reveals this but does not probe it. With various soft and admiring interviews, it relies mainly on Radner’s own words to hint at how dark things got. The film is filled with personal material, some of it culled from home movies from Radner’s childhood and the period of her last illness, and you do get a glimpse of bitter tragedy, and showbiz victimization, yet Dapolito never insists on it. SNL featured a regular monologue known as What Gilda Ate; as that retrospective horror unfolds what’s missing in Love, Gilda is some anger.

Love, Gilda opens Sept. 21 in Toronto and Montreal

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