Love, Gilda

An affectionate account of Gilda Radner’s all-too-brief life, it doesn’t add significantly to what we already knew, but hearing her reflect on professional accomplishments and personal insecurities (via audio largely taken from her reading her posthumously published memoir It’s Always Something) as archival footage, photos and clips emphasize her comedic gifts and adorable personality, well it underscores what a joy she was. It’s a standard issue biographical documentary, with the expected commentary from relatives, co-workers and close friends, but the avoidance of trendy gimmickry fits the subject. Although National Lampoon, Second City and SNL (she was the first cast member chosen for the latter’s inaugural group in 1975) were cutting edge for their time, she seemed like more of an old-fashioned character-driven/physical comedy traditionalist, to be honest. She often reminded me of Lucille Ball. Sure enough, speaking of her childhood early in the film, she emphasizes that “humor was a wonderful unifying thing in our family” and specifically cites Ball (along with Charlie Chaplin) as having a major impact on her.