Sunday Bloody Sunday [1971]

Sunday Bloody Sunday is a masterpiece from the days when movies, in general, were much more mature. As written by renowned film critic Penelope Gilliatt and directed by John Schlesinger, this complicated love triangle among three upscale Londoners was a milestone for its time, not simply for its nonchalant treatment of a homosexual relationship, but for illustrating the way sensible adults will negotiate for love, even if it's inconvenient or destined to fail. A doctor in his forties, Daniel (Peter Finch, proving his greatness seven years before Network) loves the much younger artist Bob (Murray Head), who also loves employment counselor Alex (Glenda Jackson at her finest). There's no deception between them--just the troubling dilemma of three lovers with differing degrees of certainty and commitment. Bob's relative blandness is the film's only weakness, but it's tolerable in a drama so deeply understanding of complex human behavior. Deliberately paced but immensely rewarding to the attentive viewer, this was Schlesinger's follow-up to Midnight Cowboy--two great films by a director in his prime. --Jeff Shannon

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