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Grand Canyon

Year: 1991
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Producer: Lawrence Kasdan
Writer: Lawrence Kasdan/Meg Kasdan
Cast: Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Mary McDonnell, Danny Glover, Mary Louise Parker, Alfre Woodward
One of those films I always want to watch again but never get around to, just to experience the touch of real people struggling with living problems and trying to make their way in a world where they frequently collide.

I know, it was all done before with The Big Chill, and I write this review I still haven't seen that film, so Grand Canyon is the best example I have of it.

Kevin Kline's portrayal as a likeable everyman Mack is faultless, touching and heart-breaking. He tells the story of a man in modern society surrounded by sex. He loves women, loves sex, and women these days drape it over themselves, screaming out for attention louder than the next woman on the street. Sex is a battle for survival, and the endless stream of young women he feels his eye drawn to use every weapon they have.

It's brutally and sadly honest - Mack's not a bad man and he loves his wife, he's just a man living in a society where millions of women are young, beautiful and flirtatious in a never-ending parade. Mack's made even more human by his former affair with colleague Dee (Parker), a young woman aching to belong to somebody but destined for pain at the hands of a married man.

Then there's Mack's wife Claire (McDonell), feeling the deep sting of both her hormones and empty nest syndrome. When she discovers a baby dumped in the bushes near their home, it's the start of a new odyssey of motherhood for her.

Mack's attempts to connect to a random soul on the street are earnest, a little desperate and sad as he tries to cross the invisible barriers in our world that say you don't just arbitrarily make friends with someone. He wants to believe the world is better than to have all those walls, so he tentatively pursues friendship with tow truck driver Simon (Glover) who rescues him from gangbangers late on night when he breaks down. Simon himself is going quietly about his life, trying not to let the disparities in society eat him up inside.

The most comical role is Martin as schlock film director Davis, who has an epiphany when he's spared a mugger's bullet but for whom the ways of the world prove unshakeable.

Kasdan manages to give each person gravity, feeling and empathy no matter what their actions. Their all just struggling to get by in a cruel world, and as the omnipotent storyteller, he could have zeroed in on any four or five people on the surface of the Earth.

Beautiful, melancholy and humane. Should be essential viewing for anyone who feels disconnected from the world of their fellow man.

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