This pretty production was adapted from Luanne Rice’s 1988 novel of the same name — the story of three generations of modern women and the men in (and out of) their lives. But the very novelistic qualities that made the book such a pass-it-to-your- girlfriends success are the stumbling blocks that keep Crazy in Love from being anything more than a TV movie for Smart Women Who Love Too Much.
Holly Hunter (with a notably sculpted physique) does a variation on her Broadcast News profession as winsome and more than slightly neurotic Georgie Swift Symonds, a public-TV filmmaker who lives on a magnificent island in Washington State’s Puget Sound. Also on the island are her proud, irreverent mother, Honora (Gena Rowlands, the classic Woman Under the Influence woman); her proud, mentally frail grandmother, Pem (Herta Ware from Cocoon); her proud, painterly sister, Clare (Frances McDormand from Mississippi Burning); Clare’s dimly seen husband and two sons; and Georgie’s handsome and overworked husband of eight years, Nick (Bill Pullman, now in A League of Their Own).
Nick commutes by seaplane to a job in Seattle, and Georgie, who seems to be able to work only when she wants to, worries about him the minute he’s out of her sight: She’s obsessive, desperate to hang on to him, convinced that he will stray at the slightest opportunity — just as Georgie’s father strayed from (and was kicked out by) her mother. In fact, Nick is a faithful man. But it takes crises, tears, and a lot of Holly Hunter — patented face scrunching for Georgie to learn how to be happy in paradise. (Temptation helps: While her husband is away, Georgie is wooed by A Room With a View‘s Julian Sands as a photographer assigned to shoot her for a New York Times article about her fabulous public-TV work.)
As directed by Martha Coolidge (Rambling Rose), Crazy in Love glows with an uplifting let’s-be-sisters gentleness, and Ware is particularly moving as an old woman frightened of abandonment. But the story hiccups chapter by chapter, face scrunch by face scrunch. Characters who worked in the book receive little fleshing out on the screen. And everybody talks like book dialogue: ”You’re like Radio America,” Nick tells Georgie. ”You block out everybody else’s signal.” Ah. Huh?