37. The Life of Reilly (A-)
The Life of Reilly
: It's hard to believe that Charles Nelson Reilly was already ill when he filmed this documentary, which is essentially the final two performances of his one-man show interspersed with archival footage and a few "man on the street" interviews. The man has more energy in his mid-70s than I do on most days. As funny as often as it is tragic (Reilly spends a lot of time talking about his family life, which was often miserable), I'm happy that this show was recorded, especially now that Reilly is gone. Thankfully, the camerawork is dynamic and the use of quick cut-aways helps liven things up and make them more cinematic. Not that Reilly needs to be livened up; he exerts life in every frame.
The only disappointment of the film is the way Reilly's monologue elides much comment about his sexuality, besides noting that the President of NBC rejected him because "they don't allow queers on television." Considering how much of his personal life Reilly reveals here, I can't blame too harshly for wanting to keep something private, though.
Home Video: 20 +1