Dixie K. (kona-dixy) from KAILUA KONA, HI Reviewed on 10/19/2010...
Terrific movie about a regular mom in New York City with normal household duties and play dates at the park, etc., who has an overactive imagination. I mean: a sorta interlude with a dancing Castro..telling her mom what she really feels...having her boobs grow while at a cocktail party...a trek to Africa to locate the tribe that has found the secret to painless childbirth...yet always waking up to her reality. Touching & funny & still current.
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Barbra's Best Acting
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's a film about choices. Choose jealousy, choose controvery, choose adventure, choose abortion? A lonely NYC housewife in the early 70's with 2 children, an ambitious husband and a meddling mother loses herself in dreams and fantasies after learning she is pregnant again. I agree it's the only Streisand film that ever made me forget it was Barbra up there. She was truly captivating as Margaret Reynolds. Great scenes of the Upper West Side of New York at a not particularly attractive time. It was a slice of a young woman's life from a very new, challenging, confusing time in our history, especially for women. The story line certainly seems dated and tame now, but at that time it was truly a provocative and contraversial film."
Matt Howe | Washington, DC | 07/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Margaret Reynolds has an overactive imagination. She imagines confronting her husband's female coworker; her mother. Margaret imagines blowing up the Statue of Liberty with a dream radical-black-boyfriend. She imagines discovering an African Tribe's secret for painless childbirth. And she imagines speaking out for all women at a press conference, and then discovering Fidel Castro's feminine secret!Margaret Reynolds is not crazy. She's just pregnant again - her third child. And she's very uncertain about this moment in her life and who she has become and what society values from her. So her brain tends to take some flights of fancy.
That is the setup for UP THE SANDBOX, a 1972 film that is directed by Irvin Kershner (LOVING and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK) and written by the late Paul Zindel. The film is obviously meant to address the women's movement that was burgeoning at that time. Although some of its themes don't translate well 31 years later, most of the film is still relative and challenging today.Barbra Streisand's performance as Margaret is incredible. It's one of her best film roles. Barbra strips down, and plays it very natural here. There are only traces of fast-talking-Brooklyn-Barbra; only one or two FUNNY GIRL line readings. The rest is a different Barbra than we've seen. It makes one wonder what other sort of small film roles she could have done -- she's that remarkable in SANDBOX.SANDBOX won't be for everyone's tastes. When I first saw it in the 1980's I didn't like it. I was confused. The fantasy sequences are not obvious. There are no clichéd Hollywood transitions - no WAYNE'S WORLD "dream sequence" dissolves! The dreams can be confusing. However, if you're a fan of smaller, non-Hollywood or foreign films, one can appreciate UP THE SANDBOX for its subtle accomplishments. In fact, Kershner achieves a dangerous atmosphere by keeping the line between reality and fantasy so close. The audience is disoriented sometimes. Think what it must be like to be Margaret, though!
Gordon Willis' cinematography contributes to the realistic and documentary feel of UP THE SANDBOX. Willis, by using natural lighting and subtle shading, creates a warm but realistic image. Streisand (in her commentary) points out several scenes where Willis' cinematography impresses."The Moviemakers" documentary is a welcomed addition to the DVD. Streisand fans can see some additional footage shot for the African sequence, as well as a lot of behind the scenes shots.Streisand's commentary is enlightening, as is Irvin Kershner's. Kershner, so far, is the one director Barbra speaks the most about in all of the DVD commentary she's provided for this Warner Brother's set. Barbra makes sure to point out son Jason Gould's cameo appearance in the film. It's also interesting to hear Barbra's recollection of her own mother's unannounced visits, which mirrors the scene in the film.I've grown close to several new mothers in my life recently. I don't have children myself, but I have watched and learned about parenthood from them. I couldn't help but think about this while watching UP THE SANDBOX last night. Have things really changed that much in thirty years? Don't women, when pregnant, still question whether to work, how much to work, when to go back to work? And as a woman's life becomes centered around her children and husband, she is still confused about what to do with her own life. Even exercising and eating become difficult when the little ones need her attention. Toward SANDBOX's end, Kershner films a wonderfully surreal fantasy sequence where Margaret considers an abortion after contemplating all of the issues just mentioned. Kershner, Zindel, and Streisand present us with Margaret's decision. UP THE SANDBOX tells us that women don't need to become more like men ... they need to become more like themselves.More info on Barbra Streisand can be found at my fan website "The Barbra Archives"."
Slyly subtle art movie is sometimes alienating...
jon sieruga | Redlands, CA USA | 06/29/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Barbra Streisand is very good(very un-Streisandy)in this comedic drama about the exploration of an ordinary housewife and mother of two in N.Y.C. whose inner-fantasies explode after finding out she's pregnant for the third time. With a brilliant but busy husband, a harping mother, and a gaggle of girlfriends who mostly worship their men, Streisand's Margaret is confused and conflicted, but not hapless. She's a clever thinker, and the segues into fantasy are slyly done, with many takes on the sexes and role-reversal(the bit with Fidel Castro, and an abortion doctor who could be a man or a woman). I think we're so used to bombastic responses and crazy camera-tricks(from music videos and TV sitcoms)that something quiet and arty like "Up the Sandbox" can go over a lot of viewers' heads(it did in 1972 too). As Streisand's commentary will attest, some of the scenes could have been shaped differently or had more interesting dialogue, but it's a highly original vision, intriguingly directed. And Streisand amazingly slips right into this non-showy role; she's terrific imagining unseen things about a man in an elevator or battling with her domineering mama. She also looks fabulous as photographed by the incomparable Gordon Willis."
Patrick | Wisconsin, USA | 08/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie came as a total surprise to me. I've seen every Streisand movie and this one is the one that stands out the most. Not because it's the best but it's the most...strange? ...unique? Barbra fits the role perfectly. It shocks me how beautiful she was at that age. She looked amazing! She does such a broad range of acting in this movie. A tiny bit of action, some comedy, drama, romance. She can do it all. My favorite scene is the one where she fights with her mother. That scene is hilarious! This movie is all over the place and it probably would be better if it chose one path to follow but it still works. My biggest complaint is the editing. There's a lot of footage that should have been cut out like the family film scene. That was just boring."
Excellent comedy-drama that deals with real issues
Patrick | 03/18/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The dreams and hopes of neglected housewives is a subject that is not often addressed in many films. This film tells the story of an average New York wife and mother (Barbra Streisand) who, feeling worthless and uncertain after finding out she's once again pregnant, begins to carefully examine her life and retreats into a world of fantasy. The fantasy sequences involve everything African tribe rituals to men with breasts to smashing a cake into your mother's face, but the interesting part of the story is the feminest issues that are raised.This film is not for all tastes and sometimes uneven, but Streisand's passionate and believable performance makes her character easy to care about and, in the end, makes the film enjoyable."