THIS MOVIE…sorry left the caps lock on from the quote.
This movie made me think about trying an acting career (that was short lived) but I thought about it. To see Dustin Hoffman transform himself in such a way was a sensation. Casting against type is one thing, and like Alec Guinness before him, Hoffman proved there is no “type” for actors like them.
In “Tootsie,” Michael Dorsey is a struggling “method” actor that is having a hard time finding anyone willing to work with him, due to his need for “motivation” behind every character that he will have to portray. He cannot get work in New York or Los Angeles and word has gotten around that he is impossible to work with, so much so that even parts for extras on stage are not available for the very talented artist.
After having a very real conversation with his agent, played by the amazing director Sydney Pollack, Michael realizes he has to change things; and man does he.
He finds that there are open casting calls for a soap opera that is filming locally and he goes, auditions, and gets cast. First, he puts on his makeup, his wig, his high heels, and his skirt, and gets cast as Emily Kimberly, his/her stage name now is Dorothy Michaels. So we have a very Shakespearianesque set of layers here. Michael is a man, dressed as a woman (Dorothy Michaels), playing the part of Emily Kimberly on the soap opera Southwest General; the play within the play if you will.
Imagine the shenanigans that might ensue.
This movie had a lot of people that were fairly young in their careers and it made them stars. To name a few: Teri Garr, Jessica Lange, Geena Davis, and Bill Murray (Murray already had a “career” having done SNL, “Meatballs,” “Caddyshack,” and “Stripes,” but he hadn’t done “Ghostbusters” yet so….). We also see Dabney Coleman again as the sexist director of the soap.
Given his limited time on screen, Murray still manages to get one of the best lines in the movie, and Jessica Lange shines as the actress on set that Michael falls for while playing Dorothy Michaels playing Emily Kimberly on Southwest General.
I learned what situational comedy was when I watched this. Living the life that Michael does as soon as he commits, not only changes his career, but how he will view the world. Watching characters grow like that on screen is great, and getting to learn something along the way with them is always fun.
I think I love slapstick comedy because of this movie–and Abbott and Costello of course.
Given the set of circumstances that Michael finds himself in now leads the way for misunderstandings, revelations, outcries, and hearts to be broken.
Shakespeare, eat your heart out.
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5 thoughts on ““YOU WERE A TOMATO!””
This is a movie that was ahead of its time–progressive and feminist. I saw it as a kid and loved it, but I really grew to love and respect it even more today, as a woman. It is wonderful to see a man understand what women have to go through on a daily basis whether it’s catcalling, sexual (even emotional), unequal opportunities in the work field, the list goes on. And Tootsie is such an empowering character despite everything. She’s firm and doesn’t take any shit from people who want to put her down.
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Well said! I love it. Not only is it a great comedy, but it is a very subtle drama about finding all of the parts to yourself.