The Cemetery Club
|The Cemetery Club|
|Directed by||Bill Duke|
|Produced by||Howard Hurst
|Written by||Ivan Menchell|
|Music by||Elmer Bernstein|
|Edited by||John Carter|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
The Cemetery Club is a 1993 film directed by Bill Duke.
Based on the play by Ivan Menchell, this comedy-drama concerns three friends, Doris (Olympia Dukakis), Lucille (Diane Ladd), and Esther (Ellen Burstyn). All three live in the same Jewish community in Pittsburgh, are in their mid-to-late 50s, and have become widows within the past few years. Once a week, they gather to visit their husbands' graves and meet at a deli afterward to talk about their lives.
Doris remains fiercely devoted to her late husband and takes her responsibilities as a widow seriously. Lucille is eager to get her feet back in the waters of dating, partly as revenge against her late husband, who often cheated on her, and partly because she's very lonely by herself. Esther is also not used to being alone after 39 years of marriage, but she doesn't feel ready to start dating again, at least not until she meets Ben (Danny Aiello), a former cop turned cab driver who gradually but firmly eases his way into her life.
Doris is appalled when she discovers that Esther is dating again and loudly protests that she's being disrespectful to her late husband, while Lucille is more than a bit jealous that Esther snagged a good man before she could. All of which comes to fruition at the wedding of their friend Selma (Lainie Kazan). Jerry Orbach and Lee Richardson appear in a brief prologue sequence.
- Ellen Burstyn as Esther Moskowitz
- Olympia Dukakis as Doris Silverman
- Diane Ladd as Lucille Rubin
- Danny Aiello as Ben Katz
- Lainie Kazan as Selma
- Jeff Howell as Paul
- Christina Ricci as Jessica
- Bernie Casey as John
- Wallace Shawn as Larry
- Catherine Keener as Esther's Daughter
The Cemetery Club received mixed to positive reviews. The film holds a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes. Most film critics praised the writing and the performances of the cast.