Being an appreciator of movies, I have many favorites. It would be hard to do a short list. But if I had to grab one and run out of the burning house, this would be the one. I caught it some time ago on a local television channel, which aired a feature called "Movies With Meaning." It may have originated from Odyssey. Mariette Hartley introduced the program with a psychologist. At the end of the movie, they discussed it. It was generally an insightful segment. Isabel is a very attractive person to get to know. Ms. Stapleton is effective in giving her to us, demonstrating her talent in a role so at variance from the obtuse Edith of "All In the Family" fame.
I watched this with my father, trying it out on him, ready to switch to something else should he protest - woman kind of picture, you know. But he too was drawn to her, one smart lady in this. He has a way of cracking on characters as you go along, and he did so with some of the others. Betsy Palmer's Ellie came in for some wry commentary, and she was rather open to it. The men also weren't spared, but after referring to Isabel as Clarabell at the beginning, that's all of that for her. He began to be drawn to her character as well. It's not a high budget film with all the accouterments of those, but the actors are experienced, with effective portrayals. For character study and story quality, "Isabel's Choice" is one of those rare finds you come across from time to time.
The movie centers around a work-related transition that brings up personal considerations, which require a not-so-simple choice. It is thoroughly enjoyable to share Isabel's processes, considering them yourself, yet stepping back to admire her searching and weighing what is before her. She has a quality of character that puts all of herself into her life and relationships. Yet, she's true to herself in the midst of her loyalty to those around her. That's not easy to do. You see it with her two bosses, co-workers and with her mother. She loves and is loyal, but she does not compromise her own truth. Sometimes it takes a while to arrive at that. But once she identifies what is going on, then where she is with it, she will not back down from that. And she will step up and assert that with whomever is concerned, be they boss, mother, whomever. It's part of her strength and essence as a person. Her bosses are strong men, but they waffle to varying degrees at times. She never does. Though not perfect, she is perfectly true. You could say that she's a consistent straight shooter.
I was really glad I taped this. I checked out Amazon and found it on VHS there, but not DVD. It looked like it was available from Blockbuster as well. It's a movie experience you carry with you long after viewing.
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