Gilbert Speaks on Romance and Cigarettes

12 Jun


There are films that I love so much that I immediately include them into my Granny’s Insomnia Theater Collection. John Turturro’s romantic comedy is one of them. At a time when we are ass deep in a pandemic, while people of color are fighting for the right to be seen as fellow humans, I needed something to take my mind away from the insanity. Romance and Cigarettes did the job.


Romance and Cigarettes is a War of the Roses, but with a song and dance routine, and it stars one of my favorite actors, James Gandolfini. This is a film, which has profanity, intense eroticism, and graphic language is about marriage, infidelity, and loyalty to wedding vows even if the memories of Honeymoon bliss are as dusty and forgotten as the worn out furniture in a lower middle class city home.


Gandolfini plays Nick Murder, a New York ironworker, who is cheating on his wife, Kitty (Susan Sarandon) with a woman named Tula (Kate Winslet) who works as a lingerie clerk. Nick is so enthralled by Tula that he even goes under the blade for a circumcision in order to enhance his adulterous steamy love fests. All the while, poor Kitty is left to wonder what the hell is going on with the lack of romance in her bedroom.

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Nick and Kitty each have their have their soapbox defenders with the Murder daughters defending Mom, while Nick’s coworker Angelo (Steve Buscemi) defends his chain-smoking buddy.

Kitty encourages her cousin Bo (Christopher Walken), a man obsessed with Elvis, to help her track down Tula.


Did I mention that this film is a War of the Roses with a song and dance routine? The music is what makes this film, along with the excellent cast, and top-notch performance a gem to watch.

We are voyeurs to a marriage that withstands one of the most difficult situations that a couple most face…they love each other…but the zing has left the station on that slow train to routine and boredom. While Nick belts out his feelings of euphoria over his adultery with the song A Man without Love, Kitty’s song is the futility of saving this marriage with her song, Piece of my Heat.


In the end, when Nick’s smoking delivers the expected results, Nick’s final song, confirms what Nick’s mother (Elaine Stritch) and choir director (Eddie Izzard) had hinted of throughout the film: Wives are saints…mistresses are whores…and all men are guilty. Ain’t love grand!

You can watch this fantastic film on Comcast Demand.

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