Starting Over (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

Starting Over1979

Starting Over (1979)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Starting Over Photos

Movie Info

Set adrift by his wife Jessica's announced desire to leave him and pursue a career as a professional singer, Phil Potter (Burt Reynolds) is confused and devastated. He leaves their home and goes to spend some time with his relatives who are, not coincidentally, psychiatrists. He joins a support group consisting of other divorced men and finds consolation where he can. Jessica (Candice Bergen), meanwhile, is discovering that no matter how well-dressed and attractive a person is, in order to be a singer one actually has to be able to sing; unfortunately, singing is not one of her talents. Phil meets Marilyn Holmburg (Jill Clayburgh), a gentle and unassuming schoolteacher who refuses to commit herself to him. This adult comedy was well received by many critics and easily made back its costs at the box-office.

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Burt Reynolds
as Phil Potter
Jill Clayburgh
as Marilyn Holmberg
Candice Bergen
as Jessica Potter
Charles Durning
as Michael Potter
Frances Sternhagen
as Marva Potter
Kevin Bacon
as Young Husband
Alfie Wise
as Workshop Member
Wallace Shawn
as Workshop Member
Sturgis Warner
as John Morganson
Aerin Asher
as Lady in Lord & Taylor
Ben Pesner
as Victor
Mort Marshall
as Room Service Waiter
Helen Stenborg
as Older Woman
Connie Fleming
as Babysitter
Alison Stevens
as Marie's Daughter
Michael McDermott
as Marie's Son
Deborah Reagan
as Young Wife
Tara King
as Checkout Girl
Tony Romano
as Boston Man
A.C. Weary
as Athletic Father
Lisa Sloan
as Mother of Kid
Harriet Rawlings
as Bloomingdale's Crowd Member
Simon McQueen
as Bloomingdale's Crowd Member
Stacy Holiday
as Bloomingdale's Crowd Member
Nadine Darling
as Bloomingdale's Crowd Member
Kitty Muldoon
as Bloomingdale's Crowd Member
Eric Geiger
as Bloomingdale's Crowd Member
Sol Schwade
as Man in Market
Anthony Romano
as Boston Man
Daniel Stern
as Student
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Critic Reviews for Starting Over

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

Starting Over actually feels sort of embarrassed at times, maybe because characters are placed in silly sitcom situations and then forced to say lines that are supposed to be revealing and real.

December 17, 2020 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The scenes are funny and nuanced, with a touch of irony that is relatively original. [Full Review in Spanish]

August 12, 2019 | Full Review…

A better story than you'd probably expect for a film of this kind of this vintage.

October 20, 2009 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

A whole lot better than most of the divorce-centric comedies of this ilk, mainly because it focuses on the characters and not the act of divorce itself.

June 20, 2005 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Starting Over

A dreary little "comedy" about divorce back when it is was still a bit of a taboo subject. Today it just plays as boring.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Starting Over have a good entertaining and some good laughs that prove a good film. It's not the best movie by Brooks or Pakula, but it's a delightful and nice way to pass the time. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

A truly engaging comedy of modern manners. a love trangle, with two brilliant lead star performances by Burt Reynolds and the late Jill Clayburgh. Reynolds in one his finest performances as Phil Potter, a newly divorced man struggling to choose between a teacher Marilyn Holmberg, played so endearingly by Jill Clayburgh in a Oscar nominated performance, and his capricious, song writing ex-wife Jessica Potter, played by scene stealer Candice Bergen, who is marvelously funny, especially when she is singing to Burt with a voice that could wake the dead, her comedic talents are very evident here, there are other marvelous scenes like the church-sponsored divorced men's discussion group that Burt's a part of, it is hilarious with sharp witty dialogue. Terrific supporting performances from Charles Durning, Frances Sternhagen, Austin Pendleton, and Jay O. Sanders. A smart, warm romantic gem from the late 70s, smoothly directed by Alan Pakula, and wonderfully written by James L. Brooks. Highly Recommended.

Danny Rovira
Danny Rovira

Super Reviewer

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