Romance & Cigarettes



Tula (Kate Winslet) heats things up in a scene from the movie musical ROMANCE & CIGARETTES, written and directed by John Turturro

John Turturro's Romance & Cigarettes may be one of the weirdest, strangest, most entertaining movies you'll see this year or any other!  In it, James Gandolfini sings, Kate Winslet becomes a hard-core, no-holds-barred sarcastic mistress, Susan Sarandon dances and screams. Aida Turturro becomes Gandolfini's daughter instead of his sister(unbelievable) and Christopher Walken sings and dances into your heart! (No kidding!)

What we have here is a love story in which Gandolfini as "Nick Murder" ( I told you it's weird) chooses Kate Winslet as "Tula" to have an affair with. When wife Susan Sarandon "Kitty" finds out about the affair she goes ballistic, as do their three daughters. All the pain, remorse, psychological upset, physical discomfort is related in music, song and dance. And, it's that very music that brings joy to our eyes and ears for Turturro has selected winning music by Englebert Humperdinck, James Brown, Connie Frances, The Moonglows and Irving Berlin, among others. In full-blast stereo, with chorus lines of dancing policemen, iron workers, and children, the bizarre becomes beautiful.

Ms. Winslet steals the show as the red headed mistress. Her sexual encounter with Gandolfini, balanced with a lovely scene of them confiding in each other following sex, was quite touching. Their break-up scene by the lake was imaginative and particularly moving, and will remind many people of that very same scene in their own lives.

The movie was completed two years ago and went looking for the proper release time as well as a distributor. Turturro, himself, took over the helm, along with those Coen brothers. It opened in New York in September and plays there today in a single theater. Andrew O'Hehir, the critic, calls it, "The most original picture by an American director I've seen this year!" Another critic, Gregory Ellwood, feels Kate Winslet will be nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her role as the torrid clerk who threatens to wreck the Murder marriage.

I can only hope the viewers will allow themselves to succumb to this movie's charm and originality in order to find the love and romance within. Its story line will beat true for so many!

To be released in Los Angeles December 21. For more information, visit