Release year: 1982
Director: Sydney Pollack
Screenwriter: Larry Gelbart, Murray Schisgal, Don McGuire
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Bill Murray, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Sydney Pollack, Geena Davis
Ratings: 1 Oscar: Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Lange). 9 Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Teri Garr), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song. 3 Golden Globes: Best Picture Comedy/Musical, Best Actor Comedy/Musical (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress Comedy/Musical (Jessica Lange). 2 Golden Globes nominations: Best Director, Best Screenplay.
Unable to find work as an actor, Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) dresses up as a woman and auditions for a part in a soap opera he helped his friend Sandy (Teri Garr) rehearse for. Much to his surprise he lands the part and begins a life of succes but also all the trouble of leading a double life. But Michael is about to discover excactly what being a woman means, both the good and the bad, and what is he about to do with his crush on his female co-star Julie (Jessica Lange)?
Sydney Pollack’s (The Way We Were, 1973) immensely popular comedy received a lot of critical acclaim and regonition and with good reason. As relevant today as it was then, the undoubtedly funny film tackles a very serious issue: the discrimination by women in the TV/movie industry. Once you look past the fun of Hoffman (Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979) dressing up in full female disguise, the enjoyment mainly consists of Michael’s difficulty in being taken seriously once the world sees him as a woman, as well as his struggle with the growing friendship between his female alter ego and the beautiful Julie. Consequently, his seemingly controversial actions (mainly the way it would seem naturally for him to react as a man exposed to the same treatment) inspire the other women in the cast to stand up for themselves. Tootsie is not just a movie delivering a strong message on the different way men and women were (and are) treated, it is also a funny, sweet and touching story with excellent acting and a well-written script. In other words: A timeless comedy.
The character Dorothy Michaels (Michale Dorsey as a woman) wasn’t originally meant to speak with a Southern accent, but Dustin Hoffman found it easier to hit the female pitch while speaking in that accent.
Picture copyright: Sony Pictures