CROSSING DELANCEY: An Underappreciated Romantic Comedy

I first watched Crossing Delancey on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) when the channel was running the first installment in its Trailblazing Women series in 2015. I fell in love with it instantly. Over the past few years, I’ve seen a few people talking about the film with the same amount of adoration online which makes me so happy.

The film was directed by Joan Micklin Silver, whose directorial credits also include films such as Hester Street and Chilly Scenes of Winter.

The Story

Izzy (Amy Irving) is a single 35-year-old Manhattanite and independent spirit, with a good job at a bookstore and an eventful social life.

Crossing Delancey (1988)

The bookstore that she works for often brings in authors to do public readings and book signings. Izzy becomes interested in the intellectual lifestyle that many of the authors lead.

When lauded (and insufferably pretentious) author Anton Maes (Jeroen Krabbé) visits the shop to do a reading from his new book, Izzy falls for him.

As soon as she takes an interest in pursuing Maes, her Bubbie, named Ida, (Reizl Bozyk) hires a marriage broker named Hannah Mandelbaum (Sylvia Miles), hoping she will set Izzy up with a nice man with whom she can settle down.

Ida’s scheming annoys Izzy, but Izzy finally humors her and – skeptically – allows Mrs. Mandelbaum to set up a date. She does this just to get Ida off her back.

Bubbie, Izzy, and Mrs. Mandelbaum – source: Warner Bros.

Enter Sam Posner (Peter Riegert). Sam sells pickles on the Lower East Side. He’s kind, soft-spoken, down-to-earth, and tells it like it is. He’s the man who visits Izzy, at the behest of Bubbie and the marriage broker, who arranged the visit.

What will happen next? Watch and see!

Crossing Delancey (1988) – source: Warner Bros.

4 Reasons Why I Recommend Crossing Delancey

1. Peter Riegert – Riegert’s performance as Sam is so romantic, but it’s not saccharine. Amidst the popular romantic figures of the ’80s and ’90s, Sam isn’t given nearly enough praise for how romantic he is and maybe that’s part of the charm of this movie; it’s just quietly hanging out, waiting for people to find it.

2) Reizl Bozyk – Bozyk steals each scene she’s in with her natural warmth and playful humor. She’s the coolest. The scene below showcases this talent. Plus, her chemistry with Peter Reigert is fantastic.

3) New York City – Oh, gee, yet another romantic film set in the Big Apple? Okay, for anyone like me, romantic films set in New York City tend to be the best. Crossing Delancey is mainly set in the Lower East Side.

I always enjoy seeing things as they were several decades ago, even though I haven’t been to NYC yet.

Crossing Delancey (1988) – source: Warner Bros.
Crossing Delancey (1988) – source: Warner Bros.
Crossing Delancey backdrop 4
Crossing Delancey (1988) – source: Warner Bros.

4) The Soundtrack – The Roches provide the perfect music to accompany the film. Their upbeat song “Come Softly to Me” kicks off the opening credits and is followed by a mixture of instrumental music, composed by Paul Chiara, and more vocal music by The Roches.

I actually came across the soundtrack on vinyl for around fifty cents or a dollar at a Half Price Books store. I’m glad I grabbed it because I spin it quite a bit.

Fun Fact: Suzzy Roche, one of the members of The Roches, plays Izzy’s friend Marilyn in the film.

Originally posted on The Simple Cinephile on April 16, 2019.


6 thoughts on “CROSSING DELANCEY: An Underappreciated Romantic Comedy

    • Meredith Riggs says:

      That’s too bad. It seems like there was so much personality in NYC years ago that isn’t seen as much with gentrification and all that. I’d give anything to visit the version you see in this movie.

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