Who's the guy lying next to her? How did they meet? All Alex knows is that he's as dead as a toe-tagged John Doe. "He had a heart attack?" Alex's ex asks over the phone. "From a knife in the chest," she retorts. Two-time A... more »cademy Award winner Jane Fonda earned her seventh Oscar nomination* as Alex, an alcoholic has-been actress cast in the real-life role of Suspect #1. Panicked at facing the police, Alex runs for it - right into the battered convertible of a washed-up former cop (Jeff Bridges). Their uneasy alliance draws them nearer each other and closer to the startling truth behind the murder. Director Sidney Lumet (The Verdict) draws strong performances from his leads and an ensemble that includes Raul Julia and Kathy Bates. The murder happened the night before. But the real mystery begins The Morning After. DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Commentary by Jane Fonda, Director Sidney Lumet and Producer Bruce Gilbert
"Maybe the reason that some have negatively reviewed this movie is that it was seen as a thriller. And maybe, in fact, it does fail in that regard. [I'm no expert here; I was actually surprised when the killer was revealed.]But I viewed this movie as a story of two wounded souls coming together in an unwitting fashion, loving and then wounding one another, and then somehow managing to come back together in the end.Jane Fonda's performance is perhaps the finest in her career as an actress. She is funny, maddening, heartbreaking, tragic and sexy all at once. And of course Jeff Bridges gives another subtle and truthful performance. He gives us a man who, were we to actually meet in real life, we might want to distance ourselves from. But there is much more there and Jeff makes you want to stick around to find out what that "more" is. He takes a sterotype and breathes life into him and makes us feel for him.Please do not let the fact that you may be savy enough to guess "who done it" early on in this film. Stick around for the end. Stick around for the journey these two are on. It's worth the trip."
Not first rate but well-lit
Peter Shelley | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 06/18/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This was reportedly the first film Sidney Lumet made in LA after working in New York for years. Cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak traded his usual black and brown chiaroscuro lighting for sunlit oranges and pastels. This colouring also applies to Jane Fonda who adopts a bleached blonde look to play an alcoholic has-been actress, who was "being groomed to be the new Vera Miles", suspected of murder. It is a nice touch to have made the victim a photographer of female muscle bodies, considering Fonda's fitness empire. The thriller elements of this film are undermined by an awful overbearing score by Paul Chihara and a clumsily staged climax. It works better as a drama with intimate conversations, in opposition to Lumet's tendency to have his actors yell. (Just think of Network). Both Jeff Bridges and Raul Julia work well off Fonda, Bridges in particular, though his fleshiness here makes him look more like his brother Beau. Fonda is quite brilliant in her 2 drunk scenes and her sober world-weary line readings are funny. She seems almost anorexically thin but gets a remarkeable makeover mid-way. I like the cuts in the love scene showing what makes Fonda's character drink. This is the only time the music works. I also like the line given to a friend of Fonda's when she asks for some conservative clothes - "Honey, I'm a drag queen, not a transvestite"."
Good transfer but no Jane Fonda commentary
cinephile | 09/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've always liked this film (mainly for the acting) and was surprised to see it released on DVD. The transfer looks great: sharp, solid picture quality, the sound is good. The commentary by Sidney Lumet is engaging. (It is rather amusing to hear him tell how Fonda got drunk before shooting the fight scene with Jeff Bridges.) But there is no commentary from either Jane Fonda or Bruce Gilbert. Just a warning."
Strong Performances By Jane Fonda and Jeff Bridges
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 09/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What makes The Morning After worth watching is Jane Fonda's performance and Sidney Lumet's direction. What makes the movie a bit irritating to watch is Alexandra Sternbergen (Fonda's character) and Sidney Lumet's direction. Alex (Fonda) is an over-the-hill actress and a drunk, who wakes up one morning with no memory of how she wound up in bed with the stranger next to her. The stranger is bloody and dead, with a knife sticking out of his chest. She runs, and winds up with an ex-cop, Turner Kendall (Jeff Bridges), who eventually thinks she's innocent. Also helping her is her husband, Jackie Manero (Raul Julia), a successful hair salon owner who serves the wealthy. Manero is competent, confidant and wants "in" after years of being an outsider. "Being a hairdresser is what he does," Alex says to Kendall, "not what he is." Jackie and Alex have been friends for years, but married in name only for ten of them. The Morning After tells us of Alex's panic, of the realization that a killer is setting her up, and of the violent but not too surprising climax.
Alex, as Viveca Van Loren, once had an acting career but it slipped away with booze and time. "I saw you on Channel 13 with Richard Egan," a friendly bartender tells her. "You sure were something, babe." Now she's a brittle lush who has blackouts, although resourceful in a selfish kind of way. She knows she had a chance at stardom and can't get over not making it. She has moments of realism. "They were grooming me to be the next Vera Miles," she says. "I was going to replace someone the public didn't even know was missing." Now she's an aging, needy, defensive drunk.
The chemistry between Fonda and Bridges works well. Bridges plays Kendall as smart, open, drawn to Alex but cautious for his own reasons. He was a detective for 10 years in Bakersfield until he was stabbed by an under-age hooker. He resigned when he couldn't get his arm working well again. He's divorced with a daughter he sees occasionally. He's younger than Alex and probably just as worn around the edges as she. What do you do now, Alex asks, what keeps you busy? "Oh, you know," he says, "nothin', daily life." He lives in a worn-out quonset hut and buys used books, often by the pound, which he plans to read some time.
During the day and a half after they meet, Alex and Kendall get close to each other, but cautiously. They also learn who has set up Alex and why. The mystery may not be much, but there is a nice twist at the end. Lumet keeps things moving and gives the movie a nice look at Los Angeles. I wish, though, that he had worked with the screenwriter for a tighter, more forceful plot. The movie doesn't sag, exactly, but it gets a little distracted at times, especially when dealing with Alex Sternbergen.
The movie is dependent on Jane Fonda's skills and appeal. She's a brave actress; Alex may be a thin, attractive woman, but she's also past any bloom of youth. With a hangover, smudged make-up and the wrinkles showing, Fonda isn't afraid to show the woman as she is. Fonda is such a strong actress, however, that after a bit I found myself losing a little sympathy for Alex. Self-pitying drunks are hard to like. Fonda (or Lumet) in my opinion doesn't leave room for much affection toward Alex until the end of the film. In fact, I found myself imagining Alex as being Bree Daniel 15 years after Klute. It made me warm up to her a little.
On balance, I like the movie quite a bit, but I think it has weak spots. Still, it's an enjoyable film with good chemistry between Fonda and Bridges. The DVD picture, to me, looks a little soft but it's not objectionable. There are no extras except a commentary track by Lumet."
Simply The Best: 5 Stars to Jane Fonda
Joseph E. Radza | Warren, OH | 06/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie once again proves that Jane Fonda is simply the best actress alive today. She will always be remembered in the same way Bette Davis or Katherine Hepburn is remembered. Her performance here is stunning, and there is no doubt that she is the best thing about this film. I don't think Jane Fonda is capable of giving a bad performance, although her choices of film roles is sometimes questionable. Please Jane, try to find a role you can sink your acting teeth into like The Morning After, Klute, They Shoot Horses Don't They, and Coming Home. You were great in Monster-In-Law and Georgia Rule, but those movies are far behind your golden talent. Buy and watch The Morning After if you want to see how a classic actress can dominate the screen in every scene. Again, Jane Fonda is simply the best!"