Projections - Movie Reviews

Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever is the story of growth from adolescence to adulthood by a young man from a low class family.

It will probably be enjoyed most by young people, but it has depth for all audiences.

Initially there is a scene where Director John Badham is attempting to glorify the Saturday night orgy of dance and sex that Tony Movero, John Travolta is part of.  But the appearance of Stephanie, Karen Lynn Gorney begins a change in tone and a marked upturn in the film.

The film comes down hard on the macho vulgar adolescent life of four boys.  One can't help but compare Fever to Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story - the main character in both cases is Tony, each is ready for something new, each finds that new thing is a girl.

But Tony in Fever is different.  He finds Stephanie, a woman he likes and respects for her dancing abilities.  It is his first experience that doesn't involve using a girl for sex only.

His change of roles comes far too quickly for reality, but for dramatic purposes the story flows well.

Tony is caught up in a family that values hard work, promptness and religion.  His father is out of work.  Tony is usually late for dinner because he works late and his brother Frank Jr. is leaving the priesthood.  Things are bad.  In their clumsy attempts to give value to his life, Tony's parents have convinced him that he is useless.  Compared to his brother he is the pits.  Then Frank Jr. leaves the priesthood.  Tony says "If you ain't so good then I ain't so bad."  Father Frank, as he leaves the family home, observes that his parents believe they have lost their special place in heaven which they had gained by pressuring him to become a priest.

All of this begins to lead Tony across the symbolic bridge to a new world across the river.

Giving up the 2001 Odyssey disco and White Cattle hamburgers is made easier by a climatic Saturday night in which there is rape, and the death of one of his friends.

Saturday Night Fever is worth seeing, performances are good, there is a message and the music is used effectively for dramatic purposes.

The film Is rated R because of very strong language.

Saturday Night Fever

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