"Love is the vaguest word in the human vocabulary."


I recently watched Romance & Cigarettes, John Tuturro's 2005 musical. While deeply flawed (James Gandolfini's hugely unlikeable character surrounded by incredible women reminded me of why I had so much trouble with Nine), it had some striking dialog and memorable scenes. Here's my favorite.

Kitty (Susan Sarandon) has just discovered her husband Nick (James Gandolfini) has been cheating on her, and lying to her face, he denies it. The next day we see her enter a large cathedral. She passes a station of the cross, where "Jesus Consoles the Women" and pauses. We can faintly hear a choir singing. After climbing stairs, Kitty arrives in the sanctuary's choir loft. A choir of men and women, diverse in age and ethnicity, are singing "When He Reached Down His Hand For Me" with reverent sincerity. And whose leading them at the organ? The Reverend Eddie Izzard, naturally. Kitty watches them with hope and peace in her eyes.

Eddie Izzard: "What have we here? Return of the Prodigal Daughter?" Choir members notice her and beckon her to join them. Eddie also motions to her. "Come on up." We cut away to scenes of other characters (sorry about the crotch shot of Bobby Cannavale), most importantly Nick calling his mistress Tula while his wife screams out her musical catharsis, backed by a totally supportive choir (even the nun!):

In the time in between her arrival and when the song begins, I imagine Eddie Izzard asking Kitty what was going on. After she tells him and the choir about her cheating husband, they choose the appropriate song and just sing the HELL out of it together in solidarity. Now that's a church choir I could join.


Kj said...

It's the Italian dubbed version. Who took the time to dub this into Italian? Fascinating.

Maryann said...

Yeah, it was the only one I could find! Fortunately that means only the Italian-fluent can understand all the dirty stuff Kate Winslet is saying on the phone in the clip.