UP THE SANDBOX was a controversial picture in that almost everyone had a different opinion of how to interpret this "Women's Liberation" film. Streisand is a mother of two and in the process of having a third child. She is married to Selby, a professor, and she possesses one of the world's great imaginations. The film consists of a series of vignettes,...read more
UP THE SANDBOX was a controversial picture in that almost everyone had a different opinion of how to interpret this "Women's Liberation" film. Streisand is a mother of two and in the process of having a third child. She is married to Selby, a professor, and she possesses one of the world's
great imaginations. The film consists of a series of vignettes, and the message received is that Streisand is not quite certain of her own sexual identity. Anne Richardson Roiphe's book, upon which the film is based, offers three separate points of view. The first is that Streisand's character is
not at all a contemporary woman because it appears that she enjoys being kept "barefoot and pregnant" and safe in that role. Second, she can be interpreted as a person who enjoys the job of wife and mother but does have a yearning for some semblance of freedom away from the diapers. The third
point of view is that she hates the life she leads and wants to abandon her family so she can do all the things she believes she must do to fulfill herself as a liberated woman. As the movie unspools, it's not easy to tell which of the vignettes are real and which are imagined. Selby doesn't know
that Streisand is expecting again, and when she visits the college where he is employed and finds him deep in "conference" with Rhodes, a luscious associate, she walks away without giving him the news, and her trips to Fantasy Land commence. She thinks Selby is having an affair; then she goes off
into a nether world and dreams of Castro (Morales). When the bearded Cuban leader tries to seduce Streisand in her dream, he suddenly reveals himself to be a woman! She next squires her kids to the local playground and recalls a street fight that sends her off into dreams again as she leads a
group of revolutionaries in a plot to dynamite the Statue of Liberty. In real life she and Selby attend her parents' 33rd wedding anniversary party, and she imagines herself pushing her mother, Hoffman, into the large cake and then having a battle with the woman as they roll on the floor and pull
out fistfuls of each other's hair. Next they go to a college cocktail party tossed in honor of a famed anthropologist, Benedict, and Streisand is miffed when Selby shows some interest in Brooks, a comely student. That sets her off on another dream sequence in which she and Benedict travel to Kenya
and meet a group of natives who are fat as cows but have discovered an amazing way in which they can give birth with no pain. Streisand now thinks it may be better if she has an abortion and tells Selby to take their kids to a park for the afternoon. A dream takes her to an abortion clinic where
Selby arrives just in time to stop her from destroying her unborn child. She returns to reality and goes to the park to tell Selby that she is expecting (while dreaming that she is racing through the park on a hospital gurney that is somehow propelled by unseen power). When she breaks the news
about the new baby to Selby, he turns out to be thrilled and not nearly the ogre she'd expected. Selby agrees with Streisand when she informs him that she needs some time off from the torture of being a mother, and he shows his understanding by acquiescing.
The acting is good, if you can stand Streisand's shrill ways, but acting alone cannot make a movie. It's far too diffuse, the script is vague, and the direction is often haphazard. The combination of the reality of Streisand's life and the bizarre quality of her fantasies is jarring. UP THE
SANDBOX was filmed in New York, Kenya, and Hollywood. Streisand's longtime manager, Marty Erlichman, is listed as the associate producer. Producer Winkler has used various of his relations in other movies and does so again here, as Margo Winkler plays the clerk in the hospital.
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