Irreconcilable Differences (1984)

Irreconcilable Differences (1984)

Taglines: It took a divorce to bring them all together.

Albert and Lucy fall in love, get married, and have a daughter Casey. Everything is wonderful, till success in business distract Albert and Lucy from each other and Casey. They soon divorce and start fighting so Casey beats sues to divorce her parents, to go live with the maid who has been taking care of her. Themedia has a field day, which is only making things worse.

Irreconcilable Differences is a 1984 American comedy-drama film starring Ryan O’Neal, Shelley Long, and Drew Barrymore. The film was a minor box office success, making over $12 million. For their performances, both Long and Barrymore were nominated for Golden Globe Awards.

About the Story

The film begins with media attention surrounding Casey Brodsky’s (Drew Barrymore) decision to divorce her parents and have her nanny, Maria Hernandez (Hortensia Colorado), appointed as Casey’s legal guardian, which results in her parents, Albert (Ryan O’Neal) and Lucy (Shelley Long) Brodsky, both being brought out of their respective self-absorbed lives and made to testify in court about their personal lives. Much of the film is presented as flashbacks.

Irreconcilable Differences (1984) - Shelley Long

At a truck stop in Indiana on the night of January 20th, 1973, film professor Albert Brodsky is hitchhiking across the country, where he gets picked up by Lucy van Patten, a woman who has ambitions of writing books, particularly for children, but her fiancé “Bink,” a gruff Navy man, represses her, and she is depressed about being relegated to the life of a military wife. Through getting to know Albert, Lucy loosens her inhibitions, breaks off her engagement to Bink, and marries Albert shortly afterwards.

The couple moves to California, where Albert attaches himself to a famed Hollywood producer, who entrusts him to film a romantic script the producer has kept shelved for a long time. When Albert suffers from writer’s block about the romance, Lucy aids him with her writing skills.

Irreconcilable Differences (1984) - Shelley Long

The film becomes a box office hit and garners him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, but cracks are forming in Albert and Lucy’s marriage, particularly since Albert was slow to credit Lucy for the screenplay and he is frequently traveling to places such as Cannes, France, while leaving his daughter in the care of Lucy, or more often Maria, their maid.

When Albert sees a young woman named Blake Chandler (Sharon Stone) working at a hot dog stand, he takes her home and casts her in his next movie, which becomes a moderate success. When Lucy sees signs that Albert is interested in Blake for more than just acting, she divorces him, further troubling Casey. Albert ensures that Lucy gets custody of Casey, while he lives in a Hollywood mansion with Blake.

Irreconcilable Differences (1984) - Drew Barrymore

A turning point occurs when Lucy, angered both at Albert’s procrastination in paying child support and at the sight of a sloppy, overweight woman in a supermarket buying the same comfort food as she is, hurries home and channels her anger into writing a tell-all novel.

Meanwhile, Albert’s producers are warning him not to attempt his musical remake of Gone with the Wind, which he is calling Atlanta. But Albert ignores their advice, and his budget for the picture skyrockets, mainly because of his own perfectionist attitude and Blake’s diva-like behavior on set. Atlanta becomes an embarrassing box office bomb, costing Albert any assignments in Hollywood and causing Blake to desert him. Meanwhile, Lucy’s novel becomes a runaway success, allowing her to buy and move into Albert’s former mansion, and she begins to morph into a diva.

Irreconcilable Differences Movie Poster (1984)

Irreconcilable Differences (1984)

Directed by: Charles Shyer
Starring: Ryan O’Neal, Shelley Long, Drew Barrymore, Sam Wanamaker, Allen Garfield, Sharon Stone, Kim Marriner, Wendy Gordon, Deborah Cody, Lauren Hartman
Screenplay by: Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer
Production Design by: Ida Random
Cinematography by: William A. Fraker
Film Editing by: John F. Burnett
Costume Design by: Joe I. Tompkins
Set Decoration by: Jane Bogart
Music by: Paul De Senneville, Olivier Toussaint
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: September 28, 1984