Blume in Love
Directed byPaul Mazursky
Written byPaul Mazursky
Produced byPaul Mazursky
StarringGeorge Segal
Susan Anspach
Kris Kristofferson
Shelley Winters
CinematographyBruce Surtees
Edited byDonn Cambern
Music byBill Conti (Underscore) (Uncredited)
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • June 17, 1973 (1973-06-17)
Running time
115 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,900,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[1]

Blume in Love is a 1973 American romantic comedy drama film written, produced and directed by Paul Mazursky. It stars George Segal in the titular role, alongside Susan Anspach and Kris Kristofferson. Others in the cast include Mazursky, Marsha Mason and Shelley Winters.


Wandering alone around St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy, where they first honeymooned, Stephen Blume wonders what possessed him to be unfaithful to his ex-wife Nina, a woman he continues to love in spite of himself. Through a series of extended flashbacks, he reflects on the aftermath of their breakup and divorce.

Blume, a successful Beverly Hills divorce lawyer, had been caught by Nina while sleeping with his secretary at the home that he and Nina had shared. Nina promptly leaves him and, though Blume begins to date actively, he is unsatisfied and grows wistful of his married life. Meanwhile, Nina, a social worker, sets about a journey of self-discovery, trying out new experiences like yoga and taking up with a man 12 years her junior, Elmo, a free-spirited unemployed musician.

Nevertheless, after their divorce, Blume discovers how much he loved Nina and he goes to great, sometimes humiliating, mostly futile lengths to win her back, complicated by the fact that he finds Elmo to be quite a nice guy. Though Nina remains rightfully skeptical of his motivations, Blume befriends the easygoing Elmo and the three form an unlikely if precarious friend group.

One night Blume comes to Nina's house, ostensibly to see Elmo, but he isn't home. He and Nina begin talking, and Blume tells her he still loves her and wants her. She tells him to leave, but he forces himself on her. Elmo walks in on them and Nina tells Elmo that Blume raped her. Blume admits this and Elmo hits him, ending their friendship.

Some time later Elmo comes to Blume's office to let him know that Nina is pregnant with Blume's baby. Elmo also tells Blume that he is leaving town because "it's time to go." Blume goes to Nina and says he wants to help support the child, but she is hesitant. They stay in communication and eventually Nina tells Blume she wants him to leave town for two weeks so she can decide what she wants.

We again see Blume in Venice, where he has gone for the two weeks. He sees Nina across the square and they go to each other.


Critical reception

The film was nominated for a Writers Guild of America (WGA) award in the category of Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen.

Roger Ebert in his June 18, 1973 review in the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four stars on a scale of four, proclaiming it to be "what everybody is always hoping for from Neil Simon: a comedy that transcends its funny moments, that realizes we laugh so we may not cry, and that finally is about real people with real desperations."[2] Vincent Canby of The New York Times described it on the same date as "a restless, appealing, sometimes highly comic contemporary memoir."[3] Richard Corliss of Film Comment praised Segal's performance, claiming that "No contemporary actor can touch George Segal for klutzy charm or a seriocomic capacity for suffering (he’s the Tom Ewell of the Seventies), and no film has used his manic copelessness as well as Blume in Love."[4]

In an interview with Robert K. Elder for his book The Best Film You've Never Seen, director Neil LaBute explains his feelings on the film: “I was both intrigued and frustrated by what was happening. There’s this fractured telling of the story, several trips to Venice and the rest takes place in Venice, California. So, I think there was attraction to it by the frustration of it—like, ‘What’s happening here? What’s the story?’"[5]

In later years, the film has been cited as a seminal social comedy.[6][7][8] On Rotten Tomatoes, Blume in Love holds a rating of 72% from 18 reviews.[9]


In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1973", Variety, 9 January 1974 p 19
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Blume in Love". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  3. ^ Canby, Vincent (18 June 1973). "Paul Mazursky's "Blume in Love"". New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  4. ^ Corliss, Richard (March–April 1975). "Paul Mazursky: The Horace with a Heart of Gold". Film Comment. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  5. ^ Elder, Robert K. The Best Film You've Never Seen: 35 Directors Champion the Forgotten or Critically Savaged Movies They Love. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review, 2013. Print.
  6. ^ White, Armond (February 14, 2020). "Downhill Shows That Movies Are Going Downhill". National Review. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Pratt, Doug (February 6, 2007). "Blume in Love". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  8. ^ Lim, Dennis (February 4, 2007). "It took more than just two to tango". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  9. ^ "Blume in Love".
  10. ^ Morgan, Kim (April 13, 2019). "Eyes Wide Shut". New Beverly Cinema blog. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  11. ^ History of New Beverly Cinema