Every Time We Say Goodbye (1986)

Every Time We Say Goodbye (1986) Synopsis:

Tom Hanks (Big and Forrest Gump ) plays a Protestant American in the R.A.F. stationed in Jerusalem during World War II, who falls in love with a local Jewish woman (Cristina Marsillach, Opera). The romance flourishes to the dismay of her relatives, who vehemently oppose to the relationship.

Reaction & Thoughts:

Tom Hanks’s very first straight dramatic film is a nice throwback to Hollywood’s romantic movies of the war years. Every Time We Say Goodbye is very much in the vein of films like A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941), I’ll Be Seeing You (1944), The Clock (1945), and My Reputation (1946), just to name a few.

Every Time We Say Goodbye is, however, a bit thin, narrative-wise. The storyline is very simple — there’s not a whole lot of stuff happening here. I would have loved to see a bit more conflict. The script, by Moshé Mizrahi, Rachel Fabien and Leah Appet, relies mostly on a “Romeo & Juliet” type of plot.

The most interesting thing about Every Time We Say Goodbye is its setting. I actually learned a few things from watching the movie. I had no idea that British troops were stationed in Jerusalem during WWII. I was also surprised to learn that there was a big Spanish-Jewish (aka Sephardic Jews) population in the city (the film is partially spoken in Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language). Director & co-writer Moshé Mizrahi (Madame Rosa) is careful not to get bogged down with political issues, but I thought a little bit of that would have made the movie more interesting.

Every Time We Say Goodbye does look good. Giuseppe Lanci’s (Nostalghia, Kaos, and The Son’s Room) cinematography is appropriately lushly and soothing. Philippe Sarde’s (Tess) delicate music score complements the visuals quite well.

Hanks is very good in the leading role. I imagine people were a bit surprised to see him in a dramatic role after a string of laughing-out-loud comedies (Bachelor Party, The Man with One Red Shoe, Volunteers, etc.). Hanks’s self-effacing, all-American boyish charm makes the most cliche scenes look natural. Marsillach is lovely as Hanks’s “object of affection.” Their good chemistry carries the film a long, long way.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Every Time We Say Goodbye evokes the films of the past. This could have easily been made in the forties with James Stewart (isn’t Hanks the modern Jimmy?) and Hedy Lamarr. I think, however, a movie like An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) did the same thing much better. If memory serves me well, the film tanked at the box office. People preferred the super-slick Top Gun, which is really another old WWII drama re-dressed to appeal modern audiences. Anyhow, Every Time We Say Goodbye is a sweet, amiable, old-fashioned movie (think Nicholas-Sparks-meets-Hollywood-war-propaganda), recommended to romantics at heart. Color, 95 minutes, Rated PG-13.

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4 responses to “Every Time We Say Goodbye (1986)

  1. A Nightingale sale in Berkeley Square always comes into my head when I think of this film. I was disappointed there was no action but agree a lot of the stuff in the background about the war and Israel/Palestine was interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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