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Old Flames

Louise Lasser still has the acting spark.


Emily gets her man.
  • Emily gets her man.
Louise Lasser has worked in film and TV since 1965, but when the actress is asked for a bio, she keeps it brief. "I really only like to write down the things I loved doing," she explains.

Sure to be mentioned are her mid-1970s stint in the fictional town of Fernwood, Ohio, as the star of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and the fact that she was Woody Allen's first wife. In recent years, she has appeared in the critically acclaimed art-house films Happiness and Requiem for a Dream, and she happily admits to this year's Fast Food, Fast Women, which opens Friday at Shaker Square Cinemas.

In the film, Lasser plays Emily, an older woman who is rediscovering love in her golden years. Parallel to her story is that of thirtysomething Bella, who is also discovering her own true love.

"It's about disconnection and yearning for connection," explains the 62-year-old Lasser, who visited town when Fast Food, Fast Women screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival. "All people have these longings. The youngster and the oldster are basically the same, except when you're older, your story is longer."

Though the plot could be pegged as a romantic comedy, the lives of the two women ultimately overlap in the bed of the same man, creating a poignant drama about how needful of love all people are and how forgiveness can go a long way.

"I love this film because there's a sweetness to it," says Lasser. "To audiences, it's a real feel-good movie. I came out of this movie, and I thought it was so light -- like bubbles, to me; it just sort of floated along."

To Lasser, depicting couples at both ends of the age spectrum -- to whom audiences both young and old can relate -- is what sets Fast Food, Fast Women apart from most movies, especially romances. "Usually, when people write older people, they're very ethnic," she says. "They have no conception that older is like younger. At any age, the human emotions inside don't change. The person is that person forever, and when you fall in love, you feel exactly the same way. Love is timeless and ageless."

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