Ellen Barkin has a new fan in Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir who gives Another Happy Day the Pick of the Week star and writes this about Barkin:
I’m not quite sure why the second and third chapters of showbiz careers can seem so satisfying to watch — does it suggest that we ourselves may find unexpected success late in life, or is the impulse more altruistic than that? Anyway, there’s a whole bunch of high-appeal late-career action in writer-director Sam Levinson’s bracing family comedy “Another Happy Day,” whose delicious ensemble reaches from Ellen Burstyn and George Kennedy to Demi Moore, Kate Bosworth and Ezra Miller. They’re all good, but none of them can outdo Ellen Barkin’s blistering, hilarious and compassionate performance as a damaged mom negotiating her screwed-up parents, screwed-up kids and screwed-up self. Levinson’s movie is highly enjoyable, if cast in a conventional mold, but I’m fully going on the warpath for Barkin, who has soldiered on through a long period of post-stardom and deserves an Oscar nomination for this role, right now.
O’Hehir is one of the few critics standing up for Barkin and for the film, seeming to appreciate the singularly spectacular thing she has done with this role at this stage of her career.
Even some of the bad reviews, though, do single out Barkin, like this one from Movieline’s Alison Willmore:
It’s a marvel of a performance from Barkin, who takes a character who should have all easy sympathy on her side and makes her challenging and weighty, a woman who deserves recompense but makes it difficult for anyone to want to give it to her. It’s unfortunate that the film nevertheless loads things in her favor by refusing to grace her worst tormentors with the same complexity — Moore in particular is a monster who may well have self-tanner running through her veins instead of blood.
And from the Daily News:
It’s Barkin, though, who holds everything together, even as her character is falling apart. Whether or not she took this role as a favor — Levinson’s father, Barry, directed her in “Diner” decades ago — ultimately seems irrelevant. This isn’t an invitation you should feel obliged to accept. But if you decide to stop by, she’ll be the reason you stay.