Brighton Beach Memoirs (film)

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Brighton Beach Memoirs
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGene Saks
Produced byRay Stark
Written byNeil Simon
Music byMichael Small
CinematographyJohn Bailey
Edited byCarol Littleton
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • December 25, 1986 (1986-12-25)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$18 million
Box office$11,957,943[1]

Brighton Beach Memoirs is a 1986 American comedy film directed by Gene Saks, written by Neil Simon, and starring Jonathan Silverman and Blythe Danner. Simon adapted his semi-autobiographical 1983 play of the same title, the first chapter of what is known as the Eugene trilogy, followed by Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound. The film frequently breaks the fourth wall by having Eugene speak directly to the camera.

Plot overview[edit]

Set in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, New York in September 1937 during The Great Depression, this coming-of-age comedy focuses on Eugene Morris Jerome, a Polish-Jewish American teenager who experiences puberty, sexual awakening, and a search for identity as he tries to deal with his family, including his older brother Stanley, his parents Kate and Jack, Kate's sister Blanche, and her two daughters, Nora and Laurie, who come to live there after their father's death.


  • Jonathan Silverman - Eugene Morris Jerome, almost 15
  • Blythe Danner - Kate Jerome, about 40: Eugene's mother, a strong Jewish matriarch
  • Bob Dishy - Jacob "Jack" Jerome, about 40: Eugene's father
  • Judith Ivey - Blanche Morton, 38: Eugene's widowed aunt
  • Brian Drillinger - Stanley Jerome, 18½: Eugene's older brother
  • Stacey Glick - Laurie Morton, 13: Eugene's younger cousin
  • Lisa Waltz - Nora Morton, 16½: Eugene's beautiful older cousin


Roger Ebert, in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, gave the film two stars out of four and wrote: "The movie feels so plotted, so constructed, so written, that I found myself thinking maybe they shouldn't have filmed the final draft of the screenplay. Maybe there was an earlier draft that was a little disorganized and unpolished, but still had the jumble of life in it.... The movie was directed by Gene Saks, who directs many of Simon's plays on both the stage and the screen, and whose gift is for the theater. His plays have the breath of life; his movies feel like the official authorized version. Everything is by the numbers."[2][3] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune also awarded two stars out of four and noted "a general softening of the tension in the Jerome household [from the play] ... Here on film the pathos is missing, and all we are left with is jokes badly performed by a weak central character."[4] Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that the play "has become a film of surprisingly gentle charms. Mr. Simon's humor is much in evidence, but it is not the film's strongest selling point. Even more effective are the sense of a place and a way of life long vanished and the care and affection with which they have been summoned up."[5] Variety declared, "'Brighton Beach Memoirs' emerges as one of the more successful transfers of a Neil Simon play to the screen ... Overall impact is mild, but very pleasantly so."[6] Michael Wilmington of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "'Brighton Beach Memoirs' may be one of Simon's best plays, but the film's heart seems to be beating in a plastic wrapper. There's a kind of glace over everything, a sugary show-biz coat that dulls your taste buds. Everything is bigger, brighter and broader than it should be—though remnants of that simpler, more honest story often peek through."[7] Paul Attanasio of The Washington Post called the film "a regularly funny and sometimes affecting movie that captures, if not always successfully, the kind of back-and-forth of any ordinary family."[8]

The film holds a score of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 12 reviews.[9]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger. " 'Brighton Beach Memoirs' " Chicago Sun-Times, December 25, 1986
  3. ^ Brighton Beach Memoirs on IMDb
  4. ^ Siskel, Gene (December 26, 1986). "Siskel's Flicks Picks". Chicago Tribune. Section 7 p. A.
  5. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 25, 1986). "Screen: 'Brighton Beach Memoirs'". The New York Times. 23.
  6. ^ "Film Reviews: Brighton Beach Memoirs". Variety. December 17, 1986. 18.
  7. ^ Wilmington, Michael (December 25, 1986). "Movie Version of 'Memoirs' Buries Charm and Honesty of Neil Simon's Stage Play". Los Angeles Times. Part V, p. 1.
  8. ^ Attanasio, Paul (December 25, 1986). "'Brighton Beach': Lust & Laughter". The Washington Post. C1.
  9. ^ "Brighton Beach Memoirs". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 2, 2019.

External links[edit]