Once Around

Holly Hunter is an Italian-American in Boston, still neurotically tied to her parents (Danny Aiello and Gena Rowlands) and looking for romance. This 1991 comedy with tragic undertones has been well scripted by Malia Scotch Marmo and effectively directed by Lasse Hallstrom (My Life as a Dog); Laura San Giacomo plays Hunter’s just-married younger sister, and Richard Dreyfuss is the vulgar, assertive condo salesman from a Lithuanian family who sweeps Hunter off her feet. Beautifully acted by all the leads, sensitive and acute about family dynamics, this is a first-class entertainment that goes through some unexpected changes of tone (rather like Terms of Endearment) without ever losing its footing; the focus on family interactions is so concentrated that we never see much of the characters beyond this context, but they’re so well defined and developed that you may not notice. With Roxanne Hart and Danton Stone. R, 115 min. (JR)

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