Heartburn (1986)


When I first saw Tim Burton’s Batman, I was convinced that Jack Nicholson, when given a decent script, could act circles around anybody. Since then, I have aimed to watch almost every film starring Nicholson, and after 10 years of tracking down almost every Nicholson film ever, I think it is safe to call myself a fan of his work. Over the winter break, I came across a film that is heartwarming, one of his finest performances, and possibly one of the best romantic comedies to date.

Heartburn is a 1980s romantic film starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. The plot revolves around Rachel (Streep) and Mark’s (Nicholson) marriage, the obstacles they face, and their attempts to overcome them.

The film branches out to elements such as infidelity, reconciliation, and marital conflicts. Rachel catches Mark cheating on her, provoking her to move to New York with her child, where she tries to make ends meet while getting over her failed marriage. As Rachel endeavours to get her life back on track, Mark attempts to win her back.

Heartburn is a feel-good movie and has a few humorous moments. There is an endless list of jokes and innuendos in this film that range from jokes between couples at a dinner table to Rachel’s father convincing her to give away her children.

One of the more amusing scenes in the film is a peculiar interaction between Rachel and an apologetic thief (played by Kevin Spacey). The thief robs Rachel and other members of a group therapy session in the most careful and nicest way possible, which makes you appreciate the humour and the acting in the scene. This particular scene is pretty iconic as well, as it was Spacey’s first role in a motion picture—and a well-performed one, to say the least. This film also boosted the career of Carly Simon, the theme song- “Coming Round Again” becoming one of Billboard’s top hits.

This film was based on a novel by Nora Ephron, and is partially based on her marriage. Her anger and disappointment merged with humour makes the dialogue a delight. That and the directorial skills of the late Mike Nichols, along with acting by the cast, makes this a commendable film.

This film may not be as popular nor as critically acclaimed as Defending Your Life or As Good As It Gets, but it’s one of my personal favourites. So, get your Netflix ready, warm up a cup of hot chocolate, and indulge yourself in a movie filled with emotion and comic relief.