September 21, 2018

Love Gilda is in select theaters on September 21st, 2018.

Women have only recently been allowed out of the house. The fact that we are now granted permission to be funny, too, is a godsend, really. For hundreds of thousands of years, we might as well have been called womb-en.

For the men reading this, that is a joke and it is funny because a womb is where a baby grows. Despite popular opinion, it is not, in fact, grown in her "tummy".

With the rise of comically inclined female creatures, the world is getting used to the idea that we are people, too. How novel! That said, we would be having a much harder go of it if the double XX chromosomes throughout history hadn't paved the way. XX-ers like Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, and of course, Gilda Radner.

One hilarious lady you don't hear enough about was the one sitting behind me in the theater at this screening. Minutes into Love, Gilda, her phone started ringing from inside of her purse. The entire time she's digging it out to stop the chimes, she's proclaiming, "I just turned it off! It's off! I swear I just turned it off!"

She kept insisting that her phone was powered down when, as evidenced by its dance-y jingle caused by an incoming call, we all knew that it was alive and well.

Given the movie we were watching, part of me thought, "Is this a bit? Is this woman about to leap from her seat, rip a mask off, and reveal that she's Gilda?"

None of that happened. She was simply an awful movie theater audience member. But I digress.

A Detroit native and life-long connoisseur of love, Gilda found comfort in food as a child and was prescribed diet pills at age 10. The loss of her father at age 14 left her frozen in adolescence. From a very tender age, Gilda's father was an outlet for her creativity and spotlight-seeking sensibilities. A nanny she called "Dibby" would have a deeply profound effect on the person she would become.

Acting in Godspell with the likes of Eugene Levy, Martin Short, and Paul Shaffer and moving on to The National Lampoon Radio Hour with up and coming stars John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray, Gilda stood on her own two feet in a boys' club for many years while making her way to Saturday Night Live.

Radner was a sensation who had yet to claim her true fame when SNL Creator Lorne Michaels cast her as the very first member of the then unknown sketch hour. On-screen, Gilda was bright and effervescent, but -- as is with so many performers -- her personal life was hitting some pretty major turbulence.

She would later be admitted to the hospital to treat an eating disorder. Regrettably, that wouldn't be the last time she rested under the care of doctors; Gilda learned that she had ovarian cancer some time later.

Well into her marriage to Gene Wilder whom she met on the set of Hanky Panky, Rander-Wilder relied on Gene and their cute, attentive pup to comfort her during chemo.

Gilda lived an extraordinary life, most at home in front of a lens. She went from improv to Saturday Night Live, made SNL what it is today, and even took her act to Broadway in a one-woman show. She was a force of nature and used her electric persona to captivate audiences everywhere.

She opened doors for women who wanted to be funny but thought that job was best left to the men. She was steadfast in her quest for what she wanted and who she wanted to be, which is a quality we should all be so lucky to possess.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Katie Katie (Contributor) is a cinephile and Chicago native who has been reviewing film for nearly a decade. Her heroes include Roger Ebert and Jay Sherman -- it stinks!
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