If you notice, as you are reading this review, that I sound sentimental for Gilda Radner, it’s because I am. I have been watching Saturday Night Live since birth in both its live broadcasts and its reruns in syndication. I was enamored by Gilda Radner and her Judy Miller character from very early on. But there was also Roseanne Roseannadanna, Lisa Loopner, Emily Litella, and Baba Wawa. Radner’s physicality and her femininity would influence my own performances later in life. I know I am only one of many comedians who were drawn in by her characters and her incredible smile. But regardless of my sentimentality, Love, Gilda is a good documentary.
Love, Gilda is a beautiful and personal portrait of comedian Gilda Radner whose comedic genius inspired generations of performers. If you were a fan of Gilda Radner before, you will fall more in love with her while watching this documentary. And if you are just learning about Gilda Radner and her story, prepare to discover a treasure and become a fan. Love, Gilda is directed and produced by Lisa D’Apolito and uses archival footage, Radner’s own journals and letters, and interviews with people who knew her and people who admired her to tell the story of Radner’s life and influence.
Love, Gilda includes interviews with Andrew Alexander, Anne Beats, Chevy Chase, Bill Hader, Janis Hirsch, Judy Levy, Melissa McCarthy, Lorne Michaels, Laraine Newman, Marcus O’Hara, Amy Poehler, Michael Radner (Gilda Radner’s brother), Maya Rudolph, Stephen Schwartz, Paul Shaffer, Martin Short, Rosie Shuster, Cecily Strong, Jordan Walker-Pearlman (Gene Wilder’s nephew), Pam Zakheim, Alan Zweibel, and Robin Zweibel.
D’Apolito does not just document Radner’s highs but also does a wonderful job of bringing in the audience on some of the toughest parts of her life through the use of Radner’s own words, letters, and home movies, intercut with interviews from those closest to her. From Radner’s struggles with weight and eating disorders to losing her dad at an early age to the loss of pregnancy to her battle with cancer, Gilda Radner emerges as a fully rounded person that you wish you could have known and cared for.
Love, Gilda is not rated and has a runtime of 86 minutes. It is available now on DVD and Digital HD.