A weak weepie, Six Weeks has been cunningly designed to take advantage of the sentimentality of the holiday season. The movie does just about everything to tug at the heartstrings. Nicole (Katherine Healy), a little girl who wants to be a ballerina, is dying of leukemia. Her mother (Mary Tyler Moore) wants to fulfil the kid’s every last wish, especially her desire to dance in The Nutcracker. Knowing that her mother is miserable, Nicole plays Dolly Levi and tries to match Mom up with a comic politician (Dudley Moore).
Sensitivity oozes from every pore, helped along by a lachrymose musical score supplied by Moore himself. The kid is unbelievable: she learns to dance the big Nutcracker duet in a matter of hours, behaves like Bella Abzug when she helps out at the politician’s campaign headquarters, and talks as though she had a degree from Bryn Mawr College. She also thinks rather poetically about herself: “A butterfly is lucky if it lives six weeks.” As played by Healy, she is also something of a marionette. Like daughter, like mother: portraying an ice cube who is supposed to be melted by the man her dying daughter has brought into her life, Mary Tyler Moore, fresh (or is it stale?) from Ordinary People, never really succumbs to warmth. When this woman smiles it is like a curtain being raised in an opera house. As for the other Moore, he appears to be applying himself seriously and not having all that much fun. For a movie that purports to show three people loving each other, hardly any touching occurs in Six Weeks. When it does, everyone’s face freezes. —L.O’T.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.