Written by James L. Brooks and directed by Alan J. Pakula—two filmmakers who found great success in the 1970’s through the 1990’s, Brooks with Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, and As Good As It Gets, etc. Pakula’s credits include All the President’s Men, Sophie’s Choice, and The Pelican Brief (among several others)—1979’s Starting Over features Burt Reynolds playing against type, giving a unexpectedly sensitive performance.

Reynolds plays Phil Potter, a man recently divorced from the vain Jessica (Candice Bergen). Jill Clayburgh plays Marilyn Holmberg, a mild-mannered, sweet nursery schoolteacher. Phil’s brother (Charles Durning) and sister-in-law (Frances Sternhagen) set Phil and Marilyn up during a dinner at their home. It’s obvious what happens from there, but the story is told with surprising insight into look at the way in which romance can be rekindled once a man’s broken heart begins to heal.

Starting Over benefits from the appearance of several familiar faces in supporting roles: Austin Pendleton as a befuddled divorcee, Mary Kay Place as Phil’s first attempt at dating after his divorce, Jay O. Sanders and Wallace Shawn as members of the support group Phil attends. Also, look for a young Kevin Bacon in a blink and you’ll miss it appearance in one scene.

Better than a lot of the divorce comedies of its kind, the performances are genuine, and the filmmakers avoided drifting into soap opera clichés. Jill Clayburgh and Candice Bergen received Academy Award nominations for their work here. Nonetheless, it’s Burt Reynolds who delivers an unforgettable performance, showing an unexpected sensitive side. He matches the two leading ladies without becoming sappy. Along with his Academy Award nominated turn in 1997’s Boogie Nights, Starting Over remains a highlight in Burt Reynolds long career of success in film.

The film is presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, taken from a brand new HD transfer from a 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative. Film grain, color and fine detail are faithfully presented with minimal scratches and dirt. This is by far the best this film has ever looked.

The film’s original mono soundtrack is presented on a DTS-HD Master Audio track. Marvin Hamlisch’s music score is clean and well mixed throughout. Dialogue is concise and clear.  Distortion is minimal with few pops and hisses. Much like the video quality, the audio is as good as this film has ever sounded.

English SDH subtitles are available.

The following extras are included:

  • NEW!! Audio Commentary by Film Historians Daniel Kremer and Howard S. Berger