Opening Night (1977) Movie Review
Have you ever encountered a bad event in your life that every time you try to look back, you want to forget it? A bullying incident, a wrong life decision, or a haunting memory. Every time these moments come back to us, we feel pulled away one step behind.
I had no background on this movie when I first watched Opening Night, yet I was shocked at how good it was.
The movie follows Myrtle Gordon, a famous middle-aged theater actress who was one of the cast of the play The Second Woman. After one of her performances in New Haven, Connecticut, fans greeted her while leaving the theater. She encounters an obsessed fan named Nancy, who runs after Myrtle and is accidentally hit by their car. The incident leaves a gaping memory on Myrtle. She even goes to great lengths to go to the girl's mourning period or shiva.
Myrtle struggles to perform and connect with her character in the play. She begins to contemplate her age as having no significance as she continues to act in The Second Woman play. She goes beyond her script by changing lines, throwing props, breaking the fourth wall, etc. The others are frustrated because of Myrtle's sudden actions. She mentions to the writer that Nancy's apparition haunts her and views her as a projection of her youth.
Myrtle's state of mind continues to deteriorate as she struggles to fight Nancy's apparition and her falling career. She must pick herself up before the grand opening night.
Opening Night is one of those movies that is subtle but leaves a lasting impression. You have no idea if the character gets better or what her problem is. We think her problem is the haunting memory of accidentally hitting Nancy. As the story progresses, we now see that the problem is Myrtle's state of mind, her fight with her age. Nancy is just a figure that she projected because she envied her youth.
This film features red as its primary color palette. I am unsure what it signifies in psychology or mental health, but it loudly envisions her disconnect from everyone around her.
I like the pacing of the film, there's not a dull moment, and it kept me guessing even after it ends. It definitely gave me a lasting impression.
Its influence on pop culture is also relevant. Motion City Soundtrack composed a song with the same title referenced by this movie. It just goes to show the impact it brings to people who have watched this movie.
An excellent 4.5 out of 5 stars.