That's Life! (film)


That's Life! is a 1986 American comedy-drama film directed by Blake Edwards and starring Jack Lemmon and Julie Andrews.[2]

That's Life!
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBlake Edwards
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyAnthony B. Richmond
Music byHenry Mancini
  • Blake Edwards Entertainment
  • Delphi V Productions
  • Paradise Cove Entertainment
  • Ubilam Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • October 10, 1986 (1986-10-10)
Running time
102 minutes
Budget$7 million[citation needed]
Box office$4 million[1]

The film was made independently by Edwards using largely his own finances and was distributed by Columbia Pictures.

That's Life! was shot in Edwards and his wife Andrews' own beachside home in Malibu and features their family in small roles, including Edwards' daughter Jennifer Edwards, Andrews' daughter Emma Walton Hamilton and Lemmon's son Chris Lemmon portraying Andrews and Lemmon's adult offspring, while the senior Lemmon's wife Felicia Farr portrays a fortune teller.

Because of the film's independent status, many of the cast and crew were paid below union-level wages, resulting in the American Society of Cinematographers picketing the film during production and taking an advertisement in Variety in protest. As a result, the original director of photography, Harry Stradling Jr., was forced to quit the film and was subsequently replaced by Anthony B. Richmond, a British cinematographer.

Plot summaryEdit

Harvey Fairchild is a wealthy, Malibu-based architect who is turning 60 and suffering from a form of male menopause. He feels aches and pains, real or imaginary, and seems unhappy with his professional and personal life.

Harvey's patient wife, famous singer Gillian Fairchild, tries to cheer him with family get-togethers and an elaborately planned birthday party this weekend. But she secretly has worries of her own, a lesion on her throat, possibly cancerous, the biopsy results which she won't get until after the weekend.

Whining his way through day after day, Harvey snaps at his pregnant daughter Megan and makes rude remarks to his actor son Josh. The miserable Harvey is furious with a client named Janice Kern who can't stop revising her plans for a magnificent house Harvey has been building, but he, wanting to get over his depression, succumbs to her sexual advances, although they don't go through with it solely because he can't get it up. Although a lapsed Catholic, he tries going to confession, only to discover that the priest to whom he is confessing is "Phony" Tony Baragone, his Notre Dame roommate and an old rival. He also consults a local fortune teller, Madame Carrie, sex with whom leaves Harvey with a severe case of crabs (pubic lice).

Gillian bravely hides her cancer fear from the family, but finally, overcome with emotion, she confides in her friend and neighbor, Holly.

Harvey threatens to spoil the birthday party for everybody. He is in such a foul mood that just because a friend named Belmont tells him a depressing story about an illness, he amuses himself by introducing Belmont to the crab-infected fortune teller, who, by coincidence, Gillian has hired to entertain at the party.

Gillian warns her husband that he is going to lose everything if he continues to behave this way. During his party, Gillian's doctor arrives to inform her that the biopsy test results are negative and she is going to be all right. She takes Harvey aside to let him know just how precious life really can be.



That's Life grossed 4 million dollars against a 7 million dollar budget making this a box office failure.

The film's critical reviews were mixed. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an approval rating of 53% based on reviews from 15 critics, with an average rating of 5.80/10.[3]


Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Original Song "Life in a Looking Glass"
Music by Henry Mancini;
Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
Nominated [4]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Jack Lemmon Nominated [5]
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Julie Andrews Nominated
Best Original Song – Motion Picture "Life in a Looking Glass"
Music by Henry Mancini;
Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Original Song Nominated [6]


  1. ^ That's Life! at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "That's Life!". TCM Database. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  3. ^ "That's Life! (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  4. ^ "The 59th Academy Awards (1987) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on November 9, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  5. ^ "That's Life! – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  6. ^ "1986 Archive". Archived from the original on July 16, 2012.

External linksEdit