By anyone’s standards, Gilda Radner is comedy royalty. She was a member of Toronto’s Second City troupe that included fellow future legends like Joe Flaherty and John Candy, the first woman cast to National Lampoon Radio Hour, and the first person hired to be part of Saturday Night Live’s inaugural season. In other words, she’s the ideal candidate for a documentary about her accomplishments and impact on the comedy world.
Love, Gilda is not that film. The well-intentioned effort by director Lisa D’Apolito strives to highlight Radner’s fearless energy but gets stuck on her precipitous rise to fame and her many famous lovers, layering it all with a quaint rosy glow. It’s only when the film focuses in on the last part of its subject’s life—as she dealt with multiple bouts with cancer—that it finds depth.
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