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The Last Movie Stars

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A 6-part documentary series directed by actor Ethan Hawke from CNN Films and streaming on HBO Max. The series celebrates the enigmatic personas, incredible talent, and love story of actors Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. Premieres July 21 2022

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Very interesting but the made during the pandemic horrible audio, everyone scatteredness of it  etc really bugs. Would have been nice if it were done later on more professionally 

I didn’t know they were having an affair for 5 years while he was married with 3 kids.  I can understand how the grown children would be pissed. That is unconscionable! I’d like to know more about that situation on the wife’s part.  Takes Paul down a notch. Not looking to good on Joanne’s side either. I understand the marriage was not great but 5 years!! 
Jesus, he and Marlon were gorgeous. Sigh. 

Seems not many are interested in this. I feel old.  
On to part 2.  
 

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I am a huge Newman and Woodward fan. I am in the middle of watching this and find it so interesting.

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On 7/23/2022 at 7:29 AM, chediavolo said:

I didn’t know they were having an affair for 5 years while he was married with 3 kids.  I can understand how the grown children would be pissed.

I knew about the affair, but not the duration, or that he left wife #1 with 3 kids under age 5. I did like, however, that they interviewed the kids & talked openly about it (and had recorded interviews from the first wife). One of those kids has a "Joanne Woodward" tattoo on her arm, though, and I'd have liked a bit more on their odd family situation. Apparently, they seem to have adored Joanne for trying to make a family of them all, but her blunt honesty about the fact that if she had it to do over she wouldn't have had kids herself was refreshing and again, interesting in ways I wish there were more substance to.

I also didn't realize that he was, essentially, a functioning alcoholic for so very many years.

Overall, a really interesting little series and I wish Paul hadn't burned all the original tapes so we could possibly have more. I haven't quite sorted out what I think about the pandemic-ness of it all, it terms of the creation.

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I knew about the first wife and kids. Although I crushed hard on Paul, I always felt like reminding people of how his and Joanne's relationship started when they used him as an example of fidelity. This is not a swipe at him. I still feel as if he was a decent human being. I did not realize he was a functioning alcoholic, though.

Did I hear correctly, but was there a fleeting mention of suspicion of him cheating on Joanne in one of the clips? One of the daughters said something about finding letters???

I am very curious as to why he embarked on this. He seemed to have always been searching for who he was. 

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1 hour ago, Enigma X said:

id I hear correctly, but was there a fleeting mention of suspicion of him cheating on Joanne in one of the clips?

There was definitely a musing from her that she always had to keep the old adage in her mind (if he'll cheat with you, he'll cheat on you), but I didn't think there was definitive reason to think it was happening necessarily. I could've missed it, though...

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15 hours ago, tljgator said:

There was definitely a musing from her that she always had to keep the old adage in her mind (if he'll cheat with you, he'll cheat on you), but I didn't think there was definitive reason to think it was happening necessarily. I could've missed it, though...

Yes very disappointing how they just glossed over that. Did he cheat or didn’t he? 

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I loved this start to finish. Even the relative roughness of the actors-talking-to-actors framework enhanced it for me somehow -- brought it into the present, and how we see them now. For myself, I never imagine that the people I enjoy onscreen are exemplary human beings in all ways. The work they share with me isn't their private life.

That said, the really unnerving thing about Paul & Joanne's affair while he was married was thinking about the timeline and realizing that during the five years he was cheating, he and wife #1 had three children. His role in that was not exactly that of a bystander.

They seemed to make it clear (to me) that he did have at least one extramarital episode during their decades together, but they did move on from it awfully quickly. I agree with that being a flaw in the series; if you're going to mention it, deal with it.

I also wish there was a complete list of "who read which transcript" compiled somewhere. The ones at the ends of episodes don't seem to be quite complete. Who read Sidney Poitier, for instance? (Or was it he himself, in his last year of life?) And the closed captioning mentions a reader with the surname "Charles" in the last episode, not acknowledged in the credits. I typed out a list for myself, as far as it goes.

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I think the most glorious part was the very very end.... with the two of them in the water kissing: so young, laughing and so happy. 

I cried. It is so sad that you can have the most wonderful life and nothing lasts forever. The party always ends. 

I fell into a depression after watching all 6 parts. He was cremated and she cannot even remember her life with him. 

All of it just disappears.

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Somewhere back in time in a particular moment this was happening and when it happened this was all that mattered.... 

And now, he is gone and she lives on without even remembering the love of her life.

I really find this just maddening. 

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Anyway, when I was young.... I was always drawn to Joanne's signature short bangs. Maybe because as a young girl I hated short bangs and I never could consider her good looking because of those damn bangs. LOL

Edited by LoveLeigh
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On 7/23/2022 at 6:29 AM, chediavolo said:


Jesus, he and Marlon were gorgeous.
 

No one these days even compares to he or Marlon.  

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7 hours ago, LoveLeigh said:

I think the most glorious part was the very very end.... with the two of them in the water kissing: so young, laughing and so happy. 

I cried. It is so sad that you can have the most wonderful life and nothing lasts forever. The party always ends. 

I fell into a depression after watching all 6 parts. He was cremated and she cannot even remember her life with him. 

All of it just disappears.

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This is how I feel about life. In the end it’s depressing😞

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7 hours ago, LoveLeigh said:

Somewhere back in time in a particular moment this was happening and when it happened this was all that mattered.... 

And now, he is gone and she lives on without even remembering the love of her life.

I really find this just maddening. 

615564437_ScreenShot2022-07-25at11_24_25PM.png.65867a6f42633bc73fc3c61b07c08638.png

Anyway, when I was young.... I was always drawn to Joanne's signature short bangs. Maybe because as a young girl I hated short bangs and I never could consider her good looking because of those damn bangs. LOL

She was not a typical beauty but she had something. She was more relatable I think having an average face & body. And she stole Paul Newman! 
But yes, the Alzheimer’s and the death & life forgotten is cruel, as life mostly is. No one is immune. 

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I’m starting to drift off after part 4.  In 5 his son Dies.  Seems like he was troubled his whole life and didn’t get any professional help. Did he die from suicide or drugs? 

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16 hours ago, chediavolo said:

This is how I feel about life. In the end it’s depressing😞

This series has triggered a severe despondency inside me.... so many are gone: Marlon Brando, Natalie Wood, Ben Gazzara, the list goes on and on. 

Look at this (silent) home movie:

Edited by LoveLeigh
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On 7/26/2022 at 6:39 AM, chediavolo said:

In 5 his son Dies.  Seems like he was troubled his whole life and didn’t get any professional help. Did he die from suicide or drugs? 

According to this recent article:

It was November 20, 1978, when Alan Scott Newman lost his life from an accidental overdose of alcohol and tranquilizers in a Los Angeles, California, hotel room at the age of 28. The stuntman had been taking painkillers for injuries he’d sustained in a motorcycle accident in the fall, and the blend of it with alcohol as well as other pills caused a reaction that just couldn’t be undone. One of the worst aspects, though, obviously apart from his young age, is the fact he had already started going to therapy with the support of his entire family in an attempt to get better.

I'm enjoying the series, although it took a while to adjust to the format.

I'm truly wondering who's watching this. It would seem to have a small target demographic. My son, who's 29, saw me watching and I had to explain just how famous and iconic these people were in the '60s and '70s. 😔

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2 hours ago, ProudMary said:

I'm truly wondering who's watching this. It would seem to have a small target demographic. My son, who's 29, saw me watching and I had to explain just how famous and iconic these people were in the '60s and '70s. 😔

I am 47 and am not sure if most people my age who actually like movies and such are watching this. I do think people my age know who Newman was (an actor). Newman just happened to be my favorite of his era. Maybe that is why I really searched for this documentary once I heard it was airing.

I recommend this documentary to everyone I know who likes movies or who are nosy about celebrities.

Edited by Enigma X
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1 hour ago, ProudMary said:

 My son, who's 29, saw me watching and I had to explain just how famous and iconic these people were in the '60s and '70s. 😔

My daughter is 32 and watches Long Hot Summer every time it's on TV although she's not as familiar with their other movies.

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16 hours ago, LoveLeigh said:

This series has triggered a severe despondency inside me.... so many are gone: Marlon Brando, Natalie Wood, Ben Gazzara, the list goes on and on. 

Look at this (silent) home movie:

And within real life also😞

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I also was shocked about the affair at first but then hearing first wife talk I realized they didn’t love each other the way love can or should be. Also- looking at timeline- only one of the kids is born after the affair began so it’s a fair assumption that wife was already pregnant when he and Joanne fell in love.

not that it makes it right but to turn away from a big love is not right either. It’s just sad.

im only halfway through but enjoying it very much. I do find it fascinating that she was by all accounts full of love and a great mother yet in some respects is honest about saying she might not have had kids if she had to do it again. 
 

irs also fascinating that his peers thought he was good but not genius. The camera loved him though. I don’t think it was that Joanne made him sexy. The camera did. 
 

also: it’s very simple to see who’s reading- three always announce it in the lower left corner and when it’s an actor reading there’s always a shot of the tape first. The conventions are clear. 

i drink Paul Newman coffee every day. 😉

Edited by lucindabelle
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17 minutes ago, lucindabelle said:

i drink Paul Newman coffee every day. 😉

I will have a seat at your table.

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Ugh. Hated seeing Tom asshole Cruise act next to Paul Newman. I wish they elaborated more on Joanne’s Alzheimer’s, unless I missed it. Started dozing again.  Pretty interesting series, the format was annoying. Would have been wonderful it it was a polished filming instead of the crappy pandemic style. The choppiness, sound & visual got annoying. What was the rush they couldn’t wait ti do this more professionally? 
 

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1 hour ago, chediavolo said:

Ugh. Hated seeing Tom asshole Cruise act next to Paul Newman. 
 

I agree with this.

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I enjoyed this. I was never a Paul Newman fan (I’m a Redford girl), but his life sure was interesting. He came off very very unlikable and I wonder if that was Hawkes intention. I didn’t know they began as an affair so that didn’t help, and he just seemed very self involved, which I guess is pretty standard stuff for someone that famous. I thought the six eps went quickly and it was well done but I am left not quite sure how Hawke wanted us to feel about both both Newman and Woodward or if it was merely meant to show them as they were, deeply flawed but very human people that just happened to be very famous. 

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Maybe I am biased, but Newman, to me, did not come off as unlikable at all. He did come off as a person with a lot of self doubt and self-esteem issues. Yes, he did make some very bad decisions at points in his life. He was also self aware about many things. A few being he was in actuality more awkward than sexy (once you looked pass the physical), his good looks gave him opportunities that others don't get, and his wife was the more natural talent.

Though I am responding to @sadie's post. I am not trying to disparage her opinion. I hope this does not come off that way. I just wanted to add my takeaway on it.

Edited by Enigma X
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1 hour ago, Enigma X said:

Maybe I am biased, but Newman, to me, did not come off as unlikable at all. He did come off as a person with a lot of self doubt and self-esteem issues. Yes, he did make some very bad decisions at points in his life. He was also self aware about many things. A few being he was in actuality more awkward than sexy (once you looked pass the physical), his good looks gave him opportunities that others don't get, and his wife was the more natural talent.

Though I am responding to @sadie's post. I am not trying to disparage her opinion. I hope this does not come off that way. I just wanted to add my takeaway on it.

You make good points from a different perspective. Maybe we are both right in some ways, that’s why I love this forum, reading what other people say makes me think. 😊

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33 minutes ago, sadie said:

You make good points from a different perspective. Maybe we are both right in some ways, that’s why I love this forum, reading what other people say makes me think. 😊

I agree. Your points also gave me food for thought. 
 

I find the fact that he started the recording project more interesting than the documentary. I do find the documentary to be interesting though. So, I am armchair analyzing with the realization that my take my be 100% off. Heck, I have not even figured myself out yet.

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Some of this was very candid. Very sexual. Between Joann creating a “fuck hut”in their garage, One of the daughters talking about how they had two sets of bedroom doors one with a bolt on it. I mean come on what the hell was going on in there?! Who the hell has that? . I almost want an expose on their sex life , not really,  I mean I didn’t really think anything about it until both of them started telling the stories!  Paul telling all  about how they had sex just about everywhere and they were just so hot for each other all the time. Good grief . I also would like to know just why these tapes were destroyed by him. 

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Ethan Hawke was interviewed on Stephen Colbert talking about this project and why he admires them.

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10 minutes ago, chediavolo said:

Some of this was very candid. Very sexual. Between Joann creating a “fuck hut”in their garage, One of the daughters talking about how they had two sets of bedroom doors one with a bolt on it. I mean come on what the hell was going on in there?! Who the hell has that? . I almost want an expose on their sex life , not really, 

I would watch it.

I am also wondering why the daughters chose Hawke. Nothing against him but very random.

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Enjoyed it, but it was the second doc this year that made me like the subject less than before I watched. The first was George Carlin.

Also, embarrassed to see that when Ryan Hawke came onscreen, I thought, which one of Ethan’s kids is that? It’s his wife!

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6 hours ago, cpcathy said:

Enjoyed it, but it was the second doc this year that made me like the subject less than before I watched. The first was George Carlin.

Also, embarrassed to see that when Ryan Hawke came onscreen, I thought, which one of Ethan’s kids is that? It’s his wife!

What! Have to look this up. How much younger is she? Why wasn’t she in the room with him? Seemed very immature for a grown woman. 

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43 minutes ago, chediavolo said:

What! Have to look this up. How much younger is she? Why wasn’t she in the room with him? Seemed very immature for a grown woman. 

She was the one in the last (I think) episode that discussed the inclusion of the auctioning of Paul's watch and how to tie it in.

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22 hours ago, Enigma X said:

She was the one in the last (I think) episode that discussed the inclusion of the auctioning of Paul's watch and how to tie it in.

The watch did seem like an odd item for the children to auction off. It was so personal. I never would have let that go 

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So I binged this yesterday, and now I’m depressed too. So much time passing and people gone. Learning about flawed lives. I am now drawn to watch some of the movies I have never seen. This was really an excellent project overall. 

As usual I have some of my silliest six degrees of separation notes.  First, when they were talking about Paul’s terrible movie The Silver Chalice, why didn’t anyone make the connection with George Clooney’s sword and sandal spoof Hail Caesar! ?  It happens to be one of my favorites. And then there was the extended view of Martin Balsam in two movies?  I guess they wouldn’t remind Clooney that he was his ex-father in law. 

Tom Cruise really looked like a jerk with that pompadour and his lousy acting. 

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10 minutes ago, EtheltoTillie said:

As usual I have some of my silliest six degrees of separation notes.  First, when they were talking about Paul’s terrible movie The Silver Chalice, why didn’t anyone make the connection with George Clooney’s sword and sandal spoof Hail Caesar! ?  It happens to be one of my favorites.

I wonder if Clooney made the choice not to appear on camera.

Although I really did enjoy this, I would not mind watching a traditional documentary of Newman that incorporates the information from the transcripts.

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I loved this documentary.  It showed Joanne and Paul as flawed human beings like we all are.  I will say this for Paul.  He stayed with her for 50 years through a lot of bad times.  Most people, especially Hollywood stars, do not make 50 years.  I think their connection was much deeper than their initial lust.  I can only imagine the number of women that were throwing themselves at Paul Newman.  Hell, I don't blame them!  The most touching part for me was the regret and guilt Paul felt about his son.

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1 hour ago, EtheltoTillie said:

So I binged this yesterday, and now I’m depressed too. So much time passing and people gone. Learning about flawed lives. I am now drawn to watch some of the movies I have never seen. This was really an excellent project overall. 

As usual I have some of my silliest six degrees of separation notes.  First, when they were talking about Paul’s terrible movie The Silver Chalice, why didn’t anyone make the connection with George Clooney’s sword and sandal spoof Hail Caesar! ?  It happens to be one of my favorites. And then there was the extended view of Martin Balsam in two movies?  I guess they wouldn’t remind Clooney that he was his ex-father in law. 

Tom Cruise really looked like a jerk with that pompadour and his lousy acting. 

The fact of aging, death, loss has been flooring me lately😞

Tom Cruise not only looks like a jerk he is one! 💩
‘Hail Caesar” was funny.

Some of those old movies are really good. Curl up on the couch with a snack & a drink when you can watch alone & interrupted, you will be transported. 

1 hour ago, Enigma X said:

I wonder if Clooney made the choice not to appear on camera.

Although I really did enjoy this, I would not mind watching a traditional documentary of Newman that incorporates the information from the transcripts.

Yes! What was up with that? 
I would love to see another doc too. 

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I imagine (I have no idea) that Clooney wanted it to focus on Paul and Joanne and not him. Honestly, his voice is similar, and I did forget sometimes he was speaking and that we were not listening to old audio clips of Paul. (I know sometimes that we were.)

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Clooney did make a brief on-screen appearance in the first episode when Ethan Hawke was introducing the people who would be "playing the parts" of those who had been interviewed. Several (although not all) of the "players" who did appear on screen repeatedly had a direct connection to either Newman or Woodward, e.g., Laura Linney, Martin Scorcese.

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There's going to be a memoir coming out this year from what Newman and Stewart Stern were working on before Newman scrapped the project. The conversations included in this documentary were so interesting and candid, I'm looking forward to learning more. I would rather have a memoir centered on Joanne though, as she was the more interesting of the two to me. 

On 7/30/2022 at 3:59 PM, Enigma X said:

I would watch it.

I am also wondering why the daughters chose Hawke. Nothing against him but very random.

Hawke did say he first saw Paul and Joanne at the school he and one of their daughters attended. That might have been the connection. 

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I thought it was an interesting and worthwile project. Hawke did reasonably well and the subjects are interesting, even though some of his choices were quirky. 

For all the rough patches, I did appreciate the stress on two people being willing to put in the work to stay in the marriage. Which involved both of them compromising and also admitting flaws, Newman had arguably more and seemed pretty self-aware about them. The shifting career and power dynamics must have been difficult for the relationship, I found that aspect interesting. Even without Woodward stepping back a bit to raise the children, IMO you could see even in the 50ies when he was starting out that Newman had a charisma and star power that she didn't possess. She's absolutely the more talented actor, but stardom rarely functions with that logic. The moment Newman started making smart choices for himself, worked to get even better as an actor and got into the right projects, he was gonna be a massive star and I think the studios saw that. It's commendable that he chose very interesting roles for a leading man of his era and was never afraid to play shady characters. The older he got the better he became as an actor as well, "The Verdict" for example is IMO one of the best performances ever put on screen. 

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I wish they would’ve addressed why Jo Ann thought she had to stay home with all those kids instead of having a nanny. I understand not wanting a nanny to raise your children completely but you chose this career and you’ve decided to throw  it all the way to raise a bunch of kids. They certainly had the finances to hire help there could’ve been some sort of compromise there. What was the reason she chose to throw away her career? I can imagine it has to be hard. But not every actresses family situation has to turn out like Lucille‘s Ball’s where she was probably one of the most absentee, cold, mothers in the mothering sense ever.  

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4 hours ago, chediavolo said:

I wish they would’ve addressed why Jo Ann thought she had to stay home with all those kids instead of having a nanny. I understand not wanting a nanny to raise your children completely but you chose this career and you’ve decided to throw  it all the way to raise a bunch of kids. They certainly had the finances to hire help there could’ve been some sort of compromise there. What was the reason she chose to throw away her career? I can imagine it has to be hard. But not every actresses family situation has to turn out like Lucille‘s Ball’s where she was probably one of the most absentee, cold, mothers in the mothering sense ever.  

She still acted after the kids were born so I assume they had help of some kind. I'm not sure she threw away her career. Most women step back a bit when they first give birth, and it sounded like the roles kind of dried up for her. There are always new, young starlets waiting in the wings. 

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I thought a nanny was mentioned in one of the episodes. I could be wrong.

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She seems to have made one or two movies a year after the babies came. Two of them, Rachel, Rachel and The Effect of Gamma Rays, were directed by Paul and included their daughter Nell.

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What I’m referring to is more than once it was mentioned how she did not seem pleased to have to stay home and take care of her children and her stepchildren. I don’t know why it was even an issue with her money she did not have to stay home and take care of the children they could’ve had a full-time live-in nanny. There was something more to it that they’re not talking about 

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I just finished this excellent documentary series.  I'm not a binger by nature, but I did watch an episode every other day.  I couldn't wait for the next one.  I guess what I admired most was it had so many different and overlapping themes.  A relationship born of infidelity.  A marriage of two artists, with one peaking early, while the other one ascends later.  The hazards of getting older in the business for women and for men.  Lust vs Love  It was so rich.

I'm an old movie queen from way back, so I wasn't surprised by PN's first marriage, his alcoholism or his mid-career slump.  I did however learn much about JW.  I'm grateful for this doc's focus on her, her career and how she navigated it, and her art.  Oscar winner and movie star in her 20's, mom and part-time actress in her 30's, TV movie queen in her 40's, mentor to actors like Allison Janney and Laura Linney in her 50's, theater director in her 60's and so on!

On 7/25/2022 at 11:23 PM, LoveLeigh said:

All of it just disappears.

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Nothing's eternal, not just for Paul and Joanne, but for all of us.

On 8/4/2022 at 6:37 AM, chediavolo said:

I wish they would’ve addressed why Jo Ann thought she had to stay home with all those kids instead of having a nanny. I understand not wanting a nanny to raise your children completely but you chose this career and you’ve decided to throw  it all the way to raise a bunch of kids. They certainly had the finances to hire help there could’ve been some sort of compromise there. What was the reason she chose to throw away her career? 

She did what she felt she had to do.  They could've had three nannies for all we know.  The fact of the matter is Joanne Woodward stayed home for essentially 10 years to raise three daughters.  She didn't throw away her career, she put it on pause.  She never said her brutally honest regret about having children until the chicks were grown and had flown the coop.

I love the image of JW locking PN out of the house and him sleeping in the driveway.

One complaint:. Clooney's voice over.  I never heard Paul, just George.

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