Winter (film)

Chilly Scenes of Winter (film)

Chilly Scenes of Winter (also Head Over Heels) is a 1979 romantic comedy film, written and directed by Joan Micklin Silver.

The film is an adaptation of the 1976 novel Chilly Scenes of Winter by Ann Beattie.

Name change

The first version of the film, with its 'happy' title "Head over Heals" and a convincingly happy ending, was not so appreciated by the audience, as the movie had far more melancholic undertones and subdued emotions than what the title suggested. Nevertheless within a few months it had become a cult movie, and when the film critic of The Boston Phoenix gave it an excellent review, the distributor re-released it in 1982 with a new title to match the book, 'Chilly Scenes of Winter' and a new ending, with the old happy-ending chopped off. Not to say, the movie had a far better run this time, and is now considered a comedy classic.


Charles Richardson(John Heard), a civil servant in his early 30's, working in the Department of Development, Salt Lake City, Utah, and an impetuous romantic.

One day he happens to meet Laura Conley (Mary Beth Hurt), in the filing department of his office and it is love at first sight.

Incidentally, Laura is a much married woman who has just moved out on her husband Ox, an A-frame salesman, six weeks ago, as she is disillusioned by her own marriage, and wants to find herself.

Charles gathers courage and asks her out and soon she moves in with him. Living with Charles, Laura has never been happier.

But soon she starts having second thoughts as according to her, he loves her too much. "You have this exalted view of me, and I hate it. If you think I'm that great then there must be something wrong with you."

After a while Laura moves back to stepdaughter Rebecca and her husband, who she feels doesn't love her so much to make her uncomfortable.

The movie is a whimsical recollection by Charles over a period of one year of their short-lived love story, when he is being taken over by his obsessive love for Laura.

Meanwhile Sam (Peter Riegert) who has been recently unemployed as a jacket salesman, moves in with Charles as he tries to grapple with the loss of Laura. Charles mother is all but crazy and perpetually suicidal, and the rest of his family is equally eccentric. Charles wants to win Laura back, and his efforts form the substance of the film.



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